Biogas production can generate almost 800 thousand jobs in Brazil

Biogas production can generate almost 800 thousand jobs in Brazil

green economy

Study makes a link between a drop in emissions and the creation of jobs in the gas industry from waste

Currently, biogas production in Brazil can be qualified as marginal. The country generates 4.4% of its capacity. There are 934 plants producing 3.5 billion m³ (cubic meters) annually. If it were using its real capacity, which reaches 78 billion m³, it would be possible to generate 798 thousand jobs and remove 642 million tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The information is from the Folha de São Paulo website.

The assessment of the sector’s potential is contained in the first research that seeks to correlate emissions reductions and job creation in this production chain, which was released on Tuesday (14) during the 10th Biogas Forum.

The survey shows that the biogas sector can advance in all regions of Brazil, with emphasis on the Southeast and South, where agribusiness segments that generate inputs for biogas are concentrated — respectively, sugar cane, pig farming and poultry farming. Among the states that stand out are São Paulo, Paraná, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso and Goiás.

The survey is part of the actions of the GEF Biogás Brasil project, an initiative that promotes the production of biogas in the Brazilian agroindustry, associated with animal husbandry and crops such as cassava and sugarcane, as well as the management of solid waste, with emphasis on landfills.

GEF Biogás Brasil is the result of a great partnership. It is led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido), financed by the Global Fund for the Environment (GEF) and has CIBiogás as the main executing entity.

The starting point of biogas production is to provide a destination for organic waste that increases environmental contamination when not adequately treated. At the same time, it seeks to contribute to the generation of alternative energy to fossil sources.

When purified, biogas transforms into biomethane, which has the same characteristics as natural gas extracted by the oil industry. It can be used as a substitute for supplying vehicles, homes and generating electrical energy from thermal plants.

The two are chemically identical and can even be mixed in gas pipelines, but they have a big difference when it comes to emissions. Considering the entire production chain, the same volume of biogas emits 90% less than natural gas.

“The purpose of the study is to assist public managers in making decisions in this area, which is so sensitive in the current climate change environment”,

comments Tiago Quintela Giuliani, experts in national policies from the GEF project and consultant at Unidos, who conducted the research.

Giuliani explains that the emission reduction calculation took into account the effect of replacing diesel in trucks and buses with biogas. There are already several experiences of this kind. Among the companies operating in this exchange is the vehicle manufacturer Scania.

The researcher also says that the starting point of the survey was the work to encourage biogas in the south of Brazil. From monitoring the production units in that region, it was identified that each million cubic meters of installed biogas capacity generates 11.5 jobs.

In a comparison using another metric, joules, it was possible to identify that biogas is among the segments of the energy sector that generate the most jobs.

Every 20 joules of installed capacity leads to the creation of 2 vacancies in the oil sector, 4 in wind, 24 in hydroelectric plants and 35 in solar production.

On average, in the South region, the research identified that 29.6 vacancies were created in biogas plants. There were 44.2 in Santa Catarina, 43.8 in Paraná and 21.8 in Rio Grande do Sul — which brought the average down and showed how the potential varies according to the reality of each producer.

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