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Brazilian sugarcane industry’s ‘Virtual Mill,’ a hit at major events, now also on the Web

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It’s about as close as you can get to a personal visit to a Brazilian sugarcane processing mill without actually being there, and it’s now available on the Web. It’s called the ‘Virtual Mill,’ an interactive multimedia tool created by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) to offer the opportunity for an up-close look at the inner workings of a cane mill to those who can’t make the trip.

“Since 2007, UNICA has welcomed about 160 groups of visitors from every continent per year, but only 40 or 50 groups can make the time to get to a mill, since typically mills are located three or four hours away from major cities by road. The Virtual Mill was designed to make sure everyone has a good look at how things work,” says UNICA’s corporate communications director, Adhemar Altieri.

The Virtual Mill also allows UNICA to take the sugarcane mill experience to symposiums and other events and gatherings. Before making it available on the Web, UNICA launched the Virtual Mill at three major events in May: Michelin’s Challenge Bibendum, held in Rio de Janeiro; the TOP Ethanol Awards Ceremony in São Paulo; and Green Week, dedicated to environmental policy discussions for the European Union, held in Brussels. In all cases, the novelty drew lineups.

“The user can navigate through nine phases on a touch-screen setup, ranging from the development of new varieties to planting and harvesting, the industrial process and delivery of finished products, and each segment plays a short video. The Mill allows the user to view the phases in any order, but we’re finding that most people simply push phase one and watch all nine phases in order,” explains Altieri.

On the Web, the Virtual Mill can be viewed on SweeterAlternative.com, the special website developed for UNICA’s efforts against the ethanol import tariff imposed by the United States which expires at the end of this year. The Mill can also be accessed on UNICA’s main English website, and for iPhone and iPad users, on YouTube.

The Virtual Mill was conceived by UNICA and produced by São Paulo’s TV1 Video and Communications Group, with support from Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian federal government’s Export and Investment Promotion Agency.

Media Contact

Ana Carolina Lessa
Public Affairs, North America
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