Sustainable mobility must be fostered by renewable and accessible sources. Understand the importance of biomethane and its development in Brazil.
How can biomethane be the future of sustainable mobility? The urgency to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has brought to light a term that is increasingly used and put into practice: the energy transition.
The energy transition is a process in which there is a change in the main sources of energy in the matrix. Currently, the world’s energy matrices are dominated by fossil sources, such as coal and oil. Thus, the amendment proposes significant changes in the way of producing, distributing and consuming energy, bringing more sustainable technology and models to be implemented.
In this sense, landfill biogas emerges as a sustainable option, not only for energy generation, as well as the use of biomethane — a product derived from biogas — which helps to promote sustainable mobility.
Renewable energy and sustainable mobility
Currently, the transport sector is responsible for 24% of CO2 emissions, the main contributor to global warming. To limit this warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, it is necessary to cut emissions by 90% by 2050. Thus, biomethane and mobility are themes that converge, since this gas from biogas production can be replaced by fossil fuels. , being an option to put cars, buses and even tractors in motion.
Biomethane is a gas extracted from decaying organic matter, making it a bet for the transport sector to become more sustainable and economical. The technology allows extraction with biodigester devices and can be sourced from sewage, garbage, food scraps and agricultural residues. In addition to being 100% renewable, the renewed version of biogas has a cost 56% lower than diesel, the fuel used to transport trucks.
Another positive point is that the biomethane produced in landfills also helps in the correct disposal of urban solid waste (MSW), solving another problem in large cities, which is the disposal and management of waste produced by the population.
The use of biomethane in automobiles in Brazil
The use of gas as a fuel is already consolidated in the European market. Sweden pioneered the deployment of the technology and currently 90% of its vehicular gas network consists of biomethane.
In Brazil, biomethane has great potential to grow and become a viable and affordable source for the transport sector. In the country, this gas can be used in any model that has the Vehicle Natural Gas kit, following the general regulations formulated by the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP). The fuel is in the testing phase and should be developed, with some companies at the forefront of this type of investment, using gas in their vehicles.
The São Paulo State Sanitation Company (Sabesp) was the first to produce biomethane exclusively from sludge from sewage treatment. In this process, the biogas impurities are removed, transforming the biomethane into a 96% pure gas, in order to comply with the regulations required for automobile use.
The ANP is also developing specific regulations for biomethane from landfills. This model should grow in the coming years, as it results in savings and environmental benefits.
Perspectives for the future
Even though biomethane has been regulated by the ANP since 2015 in the country, the initiative is still relatively new on the market, and still needs support to be effectively made feasible on a large scale, given that, currently, there are few biomethane plants installed in Brazil. .
According to the Brazilian Association of Biogas and Biomethane (ABiogás), the potential of biomethane in Brazil is very high. The country’s territory is favorable for the production of biogas, therefore, biomethane.
The study developed by ABiogás — Panorama do Biogás no Brasil — showed in 2018 that Brazil has the greatest potential for biogas production on the planet, with approximately 84.6 billion cubic meters/year. In 2018, 42 million tons of solid waste were sent to landfills in the country, however, only 2% of this total was used to produce fuel.
Therefore, Brazil has a great future perspective for this source. It is up to the government and companies to invest and develop this model so that it can be available to the final consumer. If you still have any questions about this subject, leave a comment on the post.