The project we feature this month is a partnership between CIBiogás (International Centre for Renewable Energies) and the European Green ID for the development of a business model aimed at the production of biogas in poultry farms in Brazil, through the tropicalisation of a Dutch technology for anaerobic digestion. The solution's objective is to create an innovative model integrated with the Brazilian market.

Check out our interview with Felipe Marques, director of technological development at the International Centre for Renewable Energies (CIBiogás)

1 - CIBiogás joined the European Green ID to adapt a biogas production solution with Dutch technology of anaerobic digestion to tropical conditions, integrating the model to the Brazilian market. What exactly is the transfer of technology from Europe to Brazil and what is new about it in relation to the existing technology in the country?

The transfer of technology or the tropicalisation of technologies, as we have defined, consists of identifying companies as well as national and international institutions to adapt solutions or business models to the Brazilian reality. This strategy facilitates access to the national market and makes the solution more competitive, since many inputs and services can be purchased locally, significantly reducing import costs.

The new feature is a solution aimed specifically at poultry waste, a niche market that is still little explored in Brazil.

2 - Could you give us details about the partnership model between the two companies? How and in which markets will they operate with the proposed solution and business model?

CIBiogás provided consultancy for market analysis, assessment of the proposed technology and suggestion of Green ID's positioning in the market.

As a result of the work, potential customers were identified, but unfortunately, we are unable to provide details as the projects are in fundraising phase.

3 - Could you explain how the system for biogas production in poultry farms with Dutch technology in Brazil will work? What will be the innovation of the proposed business model?

Unfortunately, we are unable to disclose such information, as we have a confidentiality agreement, however we emphasize that the key element in making the projects feasible is in the relationship between the available technology and the adjusted business model.

4 - Is there any specificity regarding the use of chicken waste for the production of biogas?

Yes, they are waste with a high concentration of nitrogen (N), which causes inhibition of the biogas production process if the C/N (Carbon/Nitrogen) ratio is not corrected.

Another relevant point is in the system for raising beef animals, whose waste is associated with a bed of wood shavings exchanged every 1 or 2 years. This waste is called "poultry bed" and presents two challenges: the first is the high concentration of fibres (lignocellulosic material), which is difficult to break down by the anaerobic fermentation process, requiring the use of some pre-treatment poultry bed process to break those fibres (this results in a more expensive investment and operation as well).

The second challenge is the periodicity of waste availability, as the bed is only removed every 1-2 years, depending on the handling adopted, and the biodigesters need continuous feeding. This also implies an additional cost to store waste, but mainly good structuring of the business model.

5 - What will be the uses for the biogas produced? What is the potential in Brazil for using this solution?

The uses are diverse, business models were structured for electrical, thermal (burning and boiler) and vehicular (biogas purification for biomethane) applications.

As for the potential, in our most recent surveys, we estimate a potential of more than 400 million m³ of biogas per year within Brazil. This data makes up the Technical Note: Panorama of Biogas in Brazil in 2019, recently released by CIBiogás, Abiogás and the GEF Biogás project in Brazil.

6 - What are the main advantages of adopting this model? Can it be used on an industrial scale? Will it be possible to take it to other countries in Latin America? If so, which ones and when?

Yes, all the work done and customers identified were on an industrial scale. They could certainly be taken to other countries in Latin America, but it is worth remembering that adaptations to the climate and regional specificities may be necessary.

7 - With the approval of the RenovaBio program, do you believe that companies and producers will have a greater interest in the production of biogas?

Yes, we believe that due to the progress of the program, the interest of companies and producers will increase.

We also believe in Renovabio, especially in the possibility of advancing biomethane as an alternative source. Biomethane is a gaseous biofuel obtained from the processing of biogas and regulated through the resolution of the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels - ANP No. 734/2018. It is compatible with the national biofuel policy.

Since the establishment of annual national decarbonisation goals for the fuel sector is the main instrument of Renovabio to encourage an increase in the production and participation of biofuels in the country's energy transport matrix, biomethane presents itself as a viable, sustainable and safe solution.

One of the goals of CIBiogás is precisely to improve and develop technological solutions and business models related to biomethane.

8 - What is the biogas generation capacity of the system? How long will it take for the customer to get financial feedback on the investment?

Each case requires an analysis, there are extremely viable situations, others are challenging and there are infeasible projects as well. CIBiogás' role in the market is to make challenging and infeasible projects viable from a technological point of view or from business models through Research and Developed (R&D).

This is a very frequent question. Thinking of democratizing the understanding of those interested in converting waste into biogas and the generation of electric energy and cooking gas, we created the Biogas Calculator. The tool is free, open to consultation on the website (www.cibiogas.org). It is important to emphasize that the calculator is a simulator and does not replace the technical-economic feasibility analysis.

EU Partner Programmes