Brazil to Launch The World’s First Commercial-Scale Biogas Factory

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro was initiated The first commercial-scale biogas factory in the world, located in Guariba, Sao Paulo state, and which will utilize byproducts from sugarcane-based ethanol production. The factory has an installed potential of 21 megawatts and an ability to produce 138,000 megawatt-hours per year and provide 62,000 homes. Biogas, which will provide the electrical grid by means of a distributed power generation model, will be utilized by the factory that belongs to the company Raizen with investment from Brazilian company Cosan and Anglo-Dutch company Shell.

In his speech, the president talked about government incentives for agribusinesses in Brazil as well as the factory itself, which will produce biogas from the waste leftover from sugarcane-based ethanol production. “Biogas and biomethane, in addition to being used to generate electricity, can replace diesel in buses, trucks, and agricultural machines. Biomethane can be introduced into gas pipelines and used as natural gas,” said the minister.

Located in Guariba municipality, Sao Paulo state, the biogas facility is capable of generating 138,000 MWh per year, enough to meet the annual demand of 62,000 local homes, Brazil’s Mines and Energy minister, Bento Albuquerque, said. The new biogas plant was presented as the world’s first commercial-scale plant to use filter cake and vinasse, by-products from ethanol and sugarcane production, as fuel to generate electricity. Sugarcane derivatives participation in the Brazilian energy mix will jump to 19% in 2030 from the current 17%.

The Brazilian government estimates that by 2030 the country will be able to reach a biogas production of up to 45 million cubic metres per day, more than twice the average volume of natural gas imported from Bolivia in 2019. And, Biofuels derived from ethanol currently account for 17 percent of Brazil’s energy matrix, and the figure will be increased to 19 percent by 2030, according to official statistics released by state-run news agency Agencia Brasil. Enditem

Earlier, Brazil started 2020 with more than 400 biogas plants in operation, an increase of 40% compared to the previous year. The Brazilian Biogas Association (ABiogás) believes it has been a successful year for the sector, which expanded its number of plants – with large-scale projects underway totalling around R$700 million of investments – and also made progress in terms of policies that favour biogas.

The President of ABiogás, Alessandro Gardemann, believes that RenovaBio (the National Biofuel Policy), which introduces sale of decarbonisation certificates (CBIOs), will boost the biogas industry. “Biomethane (biogas for fuel use) scores best for negative carbon footprint and can be credited as a fuel or in processing of ethanol”, he explained.

Data from the Energy Research Company (EPE), published at the last Biogas Forum, also shows that the sugar-energy sector offers the greatest potential for expansion of biogas: three times more than agriculture and eight times more than sanitation, although currently 70% of national production comes from the latter. These are optimistic for 2020. As CBIOs go on sale, and with all the movement that we have mapped out in relation to biogas, our expectation is that we will see twice as much expansion as in 2019. Our investment projection is for around R$50 billion by 2030.