Successful transfer of German environmental technology

In early September an innovative biogas plant was inaugurated in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina in line with the theme 'Moving towards a clean and secure future - German technology for the tropics'. The plant is a state-of-the-art facility in which German environmental technology was adapted to the tropical country's climate conditions.

The plant is already in operation, generating some 360 cubic metres of biogas a day. Its target output is 1,000 cubic metres a day, which is equivalent to around 500 cubic metres of natural gas. After a thorough purification process, the extracted biomethane is filled into portable containers and distributed to consumers. The plant is fed with a substrate of 100 per cent liquid pig manure. Banana peels, chicken manure and biowaste from restaurants can also be used. In addition to biomethane, the plant already produces nutrient-rich organic fertiliser that is odour free and in strong demand. In a second expansion stage starting next year the plant is scheduled to generate electricity as well.

Under the Climate Partnerships with Industry programme, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUB) is supporting the private sector in developing countries and emerging economies as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). Its aim is to promote sustainable development that contributes to greenhouse gas emission reductions and climate change adaptation. The programme supports private sector technology transfer to introduce and disseminate innovative climate protection technologies. Under the programme, German technology leaders are implementing model projects in the partner countries. The programme also enables knowledge transfer and improves local structures for broad application of climate protection technologies.

Brazil has great biogas potential

As liquid pig manure poses a considerable problem in Brazil and given that the state of Santa Catarina is the country's leading pork producer, the project provides guidance that also points to economically viable solutions to this problem. Biogas is currently being used only in pilot projects for electricity generation, and according to the Brazilian electricity regulator ANEEL, only 0.06 per cent of total electricity is currently generated from biogas. However, existing legislation in Brazil already offers enormous opportunities for biogas generation. The National Solid Waste Management Plan (PNRS) requires municipalities to close all unregulated waste dumps and treat, recycle or dispose of all waste in suitable landfills by the end of 2014. Materials that can be recycled using energetically efficient methods are to be reused appropriately. Precisely because such facilities exist in fewer than half of all municipalities, there is enormous potential for future biogas generation projects.