Agribusiness organic waste is the biggest source of biogas production in Brazil and presents high growth potential. 43% of Brazil’s territory, or 366 million hectars, is available for agricultural production.
Itaipu Technological Park is leading in agriculture biogas projects and created CIER-Biogas in 2012 - the first International Center of Renewable Energies focused on biogas in the world. Small farmers and cooperatives are associating to form biogas economies of scale. Currently, there are eight biogas plants within a 200 km radius of Foz do Iguaçu coordinated by Itaipu with an installed capacity of 61.7 MW.
Most biogas produced in farms is used for:
- Electricity generation for onsite consumption and sales to the national distribution network (since 2009)
- Bio fertilizer: without domestic production, Brazil's agriculture relies on imported fertilizers. Bio fertilizer from biogas can provide significant cost reduction for agriculture
- Carbon dioxide credits: the estimated potential reduction annualy is of 77.8 million CO2 emissions. However, with the decreasing prices of carbon credits, this option is becoming less attractive.
- Thermal energy: biogas is used to substitute wood for heating
As Brazil is the fourth major pork producer in the world, this segment shows high potential and numerous projects for biogas production in pig farms are underway. The country produces around 3,300 million tones, consumes 2,700 and exports around 600 thousand tones of pork meat. Between 2002 and 2011, pork production increased with 18%. The country also has vast agricultural areas, grains in abundance and favorable climate.