AD Plant to Generate Energy from Ethanol Industry Waste

Sebigas to Develop 17.5 MW Biogas Plant to Process Brazilian Sugar Cane Waste

Italian biogas design and construction specialist, Sebigas, has been awarded a contract to develop a large anaerobic digestion facility to process sugar cane waste in Brazil.


Italian biogas design and construction specialist, Sebigas, has been awarded a contract to develop a large anaerobic digestion facility to process sugar cane waste in Brazil.

The conract, between the Italian firm’s Brazilian subsidiary Sebigas Do Brasil and Raízen-Geo (a JV  company between Shell and energy firm Cosan), is for the construction of the plant in the city of Guariba, São Paulo State.

The company said that an important factor in the success of the project is its cooperation with local partner Cótica, a major engineering and construction company in South America.
The biogas plant will be located in the area of Raízen’s second largest ethanol and sugar mill that processes more than 5 million tonnes of sugar cane per year, producing high volumes of vinasse, the main waste by-product generated from the production of ethanol.

Bonfim vinasse biogas plant will receive 9200 cubic metres of vinasse every day. The bioreactors will have a capacity to treat 500 tonnes of COD (chemical oxygen demand) per day, with a production of 187.000 Nm3 biogas in the 24h range.

The biogas will be used to produce 17.5 MW of electrical energy from wastes which will be sold to the national grid. The digested vinasse will be used as fertiliser in the sugarcane plantation.

The solution implemented by Sebigas is suitable to treat organic industrial effluents with high rate COD and low pH, such us vinasse, POME, tapioca pulp and waste water, explained Lorenzo Pianigiani, executive of Sebigas do Brasil.

“The solution offers stable and strong treatment of the by-product and efficient biogas generation,” he said. “The system is also designed to handle variations in substrate flow and composition, in order to maintain and guarantee the daily biogas production and plant performances.”

João Alberto Abreu, executive vice president of Raízen's Ethanol, Sugar and Energy area, added: "With this, we once again consolidate our role as protagonists of sustainability through circular economy, taking advantage of all the waste and inputs used in our processes in the generation of new products. In this way, we contribute directly to the environment by reusing industrial waste and creating sustainable products that help clean the Brazilian energy matrix".

Marco Bonvini, Sebigas General Manager stated: “Most of all, this contract presents a completely new solution to the Latin American industrial sector, that can now increase its overall profitability while producing clean renewable energy utilizing vinasse, one of the most common production by-products in this area.”

Mauricio Cótica, Cótica Executive Director commented: “The sugarcane industry is the biggest potential biogas market in Brazil, and this large-scale project reinforces our commitment to the development of biogas in Brazil and also in Latin America, as a source of renewable energy.

“We strongly believe in biogas as a viable solution for the environmental conversion of residues, wastes and byproducts such as vinasse, into energy.”

The contract brings the number of biogas plants developed globally by Sebigas to over 80, with a future pipeline of 20 industrial plants to be supplied in the coming 3 years.

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