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Rio+20: Itaipu makes possible energy autonomy for familiar agriculturists
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A group of 33 small-scale agricultural producers, focusing mainly on dairy farming and pig farming, is benefited by an unprecedented project in Brazil, promoted by Itaipu Binacional. Under a condominium system, they produce the thermal and electrical energy from biogas from agricultural waste. In addition, they promote environmental sanitation in the region, sequester greenhouse gases, generate bio-fertilizer and make drying of grains. In the future, may also supply farm vehicles with biogas through an adjustment equivalent to CNG (compressed natural gas).

Itaipu, together with the municipality of Marechal Candido Rondon, invested about 3,8 million (in Brazilian Reais) in the project, which allowed the installation of biodigesters in all properties and 25.5 km of gas pipeline between them and a biogas thermoelectric micro-station.  The infrastructure also includes a biogas storage system, purification filters (to obtain biomethane at 95% purity, similar to the CNG), and grain dryer and motogenerator group of 75 kW.  The Emater, Parana State Agency for Technical Assistance and Rural Extension, Embrapa and Copel are also partners of the initiative.

With all the works and electrical installation completed, the Coperbiogás (cooperative created to administer the Condominium Agroenergy for Family Agriculture of Ajuricaba Creek) is ready to make the trade of electrical energy to the public system.  For this, it only necessary the call for proposals from local concessionary, Copel.  “Our infrastructure contains at least 30% more biogas. As entering the compensation for the generated electricity, we can facilitate the entry in the system of other agricultural producers who live nearby" states Gedson Vargas, CEO of Coperbiogás.


With a herd of about a thousand heads of cattle and 3 thousand head of swine, the condominium generates about 15,8 a thousand cubical meters of dejections per year. During the decomposition process, these waste produce 266,6 a thousand cubical meters of biogas/year, that in turn produce 445 a thousand kWh/year, amount of energy enough to supply about 2.200 average residences.

In each property, there is a meter that indicates the amount of biogas sent to the micro central station, allowing a proportional apportionment of revenues generated from the sale of energy.  However, this is not the only economic benefit of the project. With the grain dryer, for example, they do not need to send their production to a grain merchandiser.  Also, they can provide drying services to other producers of the region.

In addition, the sub product of the waste biodigestion process is a fertilizer of high quality, rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.  Applied on the grass, this bio-fertilizer implies in faster growth of the pasture and better feeding of the cattle that thus produces more milk.  In last the 12 months, the producer Pedro Regelmeier, for example, saved R$ 2,500 (Brazilian real)  in fertilizer and increased in  R$1,800 the income with milk, a significant impact in the revenue of a familiar agriculturist. He also replaced the cooking gas by biogas at home.

"Biogas is a new product in rural areas by itself; it maintains a supply chain and relatively complex demands in rural areas, which has huge potential to develop", says the superintendent of the Itaipu Renewable Energy, Cicero Bley Júnior.

Itaipu has been working in recent years to the development of biogas as a product of the rural, agribusiness and urban economy, forming a network of demonstration units, which includes farms and slaughterhouses, and a sewage treatment plant, all located in the Far West of the state of Parana.  “With these initiatives, Itaipu demonstrates that it is possible to transform a problem, which is the waste, producer of greenhouse gases, in a solution that not only improves the environment but also generates income for rural families," says the general director of Itaipu, Jorge Miguel Samek.

For more information and interviews, please contact:

Press of Itaipu Binacional
55 45 3520-5230

Cícero Bley - Superintendent of the Itaipu Renewable Energy