The use of vinasse, alone, left over after processing sugarcane, can generate 4,133 GWh of power per year, taking into account the 2015/2016 harvest.

These data show that the sugar and ethanol mills and the sanitary landfills of the State can be the main sources of biogas and biomethane production. The mills present the greatest potential from the treatment of vinasse, left over after the production of ethanol, which is now applied at sugarcane plantations as a fertilizer. Taking into consideration the 2015/2016 harvest, researchers estimate that it is possible to produce 302,848 m3/h of biogas and 151,424 m3/h of biomethane, with the potential for generating 4,133 GWh of power per year. The sanitary landfills could produce 276,191 m3/h of biogas and 138,096 m3/h of biomethane, which would be the equivalent of a potential power production of 3,769 GWh/year.

Another important source are the sewage treatment plants, which have the potential of producing 49,200 m3/h of biogas and 24,600 m3/h of biomethane, as well as the potential for generating 671 GWh/year of power. Estimates were also made of the production from the residues of farming and meat packing activities: the potential for producing biogas is 15,155 m3/h and 7,580 m3/h for biomethane. This sector could also contribute by generating 208 GWh of power per year.

“Several factors weigh in on achieving these estimates. Therefore, the RCGI project will work on other fronts, besides mapping and estimating the production potentials,” the Professor explained. Thus, the group that she coordinates will assess whether the existing regulations are adequate, gather and disseminate information regarding the purification and production of biomethane, besides analyzing the economic feasibility and the social, environmental, and strategic advantages.

“The project will be of fundamental importance to the State of São Paulo, because it gives us the possibility of substituting the consumption of diesel oil with biogas in the transportation area,” RCGI Academic Director Julio Meneghini explained. “This is a new paradigm. Our refineries are along the coast of the country, so we have diesel being transported from the coastal regions to the interior of Brazil and, at the same time, there is enormous potential for using biomass, for example, to generate biogas and biomethane,” he added.

The State of São Paulo has the goal of reducing carbon gas emissions 20% by the year 2020, considering 2005 as the base year.