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Robust bioenergy park to ease light bill, study says

In times of drought, when levels of hydroelectric reservoirs are low and the government is forced to operate fossil fuel-fired, polluting and expensive fossil fuel plants to meet the demand for electricity in the country, greater use of alternative sources would bring greater security an economy in the pocket of the Brazilian consumer.
In the worst case scenarios, when the Tariff Flag is red and reaches level 2, this discount can be up to R $ 0.035 per kilowatt-hour (KWh), that is, a light bill in the amount of R $ 100.00 , with the rebate, costing R $ 93.34, computing the basic energy tariff, transmission charges, PIS, COFINS and ICMS.

"In times of drought, if we had a more robust bioelectric park, we would probably be on the yellow flag or even green, more often," says Geraldo José Ferraresi, author of the account and a survey at the Faculty of Economics, Administration and Accounting of Ribeirão Preto (Fearp), at the University of São Paulo (USP), which identified bioethanol from vinasse, a byproduct of ethanol production, to fulfill this role.

Geraldo emphasizes that from a technical point of view it is possible to use biogas from vinasse as a complementary source to water generation. The biggest obstacle, according to the expert, lies in the lack of favorable public and economic policies that attract investments for the expansion of this and other sustainable energies in the national electric matrix.

The Environmental and Water Resources consultant of the Sugar Cane Industry Union (UNICA), André Elia Neto, sees a promising horizon with the emergence of new technologies for vinasse.

"Brazil can and should stimulate the greater use of renewable energies in its electrical matrix. Agricultural residues abundant in our country, such as bagasse and sugarcane straw, can further expand the presence in the national electric matrix. In relation to vinasse, not only are we reusing more efficiently an organic fertilizer in substitution for the mineral, but we have a bioelectricity production potential of about 1% of the Brazilian electrical matrix, or even a great bioethanol production potential, the contribution of the sugar industry to the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, "says the executive.

On average, it is estimated that up to 12 liters of vinasse is generated for each liter of ethanol produced. A conservative estimate indicates that the current potential for bioelectricity from vinasse is around 6,000 GWh per crop, which would give almost 3 million households for a full year.

Source: Unica


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