The state of Paraná will have the first energy plant in Brazil generated from “waste” – that is, a combination of organic waste and sewage sludge. The plant will use biodigestion technology: from this input, it will produce biogas which, in its turn, will be converted into electric power.
The project aims to reuse 1,000 cubic meters of sewage sludge and 300 tons of organic waste daily – a volume which would be disposed into the environment. It’s also planned to convert organic waste into biofertilizers and recycle waste plastic to produce bags.
The plant will generate 2.8 daily megawatts of electric power, enough to supply 2 thousand popular households, according to its creators, the State Sanitation Company of Paraná (Sanepar) and the Cattalini Bio Energia group. Last year, the company received the operating license from the Paraná Environmental Institute (IAP).
How does biodigestion work?
In the biodigestion process, sewage sludge comes from the treatment station and is stored in a tank. In parallel, municipal solid waste is sent to a separation mechanism where materials such as plastic are separated, and the organic material is treated; at the end of this process, it goes to the tank where sludge is kept.
The mixture is extremely efficient: sewage sludge is comprised of a considerable volume of anaerobic bacteria (not oxygen-dependent) that are fed with organic matter, thus decomposing it and generating methane gas (which is converted into energy) and fertilizer. The process occurs spontaneously inside the biodigester.
Sérgio Vidoto, director of Cattalini Bio Energia, explains that the inspiration for this initiative comes from European countries, like Germany – who has more than 14 thousand biogas-biodigestion plants, 8 thousand of them in German territory. The core idea is to join technology and efficient public waste management policies. “In everyone’s eyes, our plant breaks a landfill paradigm regarding treatment of organic waste in Brazil,” he said to Agência Brasil.
According to the Electric System Monitoring Report, as of August 2018, per the Ministry of Mines and Energy, biomass is the country’s second most important energy source, responding for 9.1% of the total – its main inputs are charcoal, logging waste, sugar cane bagasse, and rice hull. Now, “urban waste” is part of the list.
Content published in April 8, 2019