Biogas

Paraná inaugurates today Brazil's first plant for the production of synthetic oil from biogas.

The unit is the result of a partnership between the Brazil-Germany Cooperation for Sustainable Development, the International Center for Renewable Energies (CIBiogás), the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), the Araucária Foundation, the Itaipu Technological Park (PTI), and Itaipu Binacional.

T&B Petroleum/Press Office
17/06/2024 15:25
Paraná inaugurates today Brazil's first plant for the production of synthetic oil from biogas. Imagem: Disclosure Visualizações: 423 (0) (0) (0) (0)

The International Center for Renewable Energies (CIBiogás) and the Brazil-Germany Cooperation for Sustainable Development, through the H2Brasil project, are inaugurating today, June 17, the country's first pilot plant for synthetic oil production from biogas, focusing on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

With an investment of approximately 10 million reais from the German government, specifically from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ), the Renewable Hydrocarbon Production Unit, installed at Itaipu Binacional, will produce 6 kg/day of biosyncrude—a blend of hydrocarbons synthesized from biogas and green hydrogen, intended for SAF production.

The pilot plant will use up to 50 Nm³/day of biogas produced at the Itaipu Binacional biodigestion unit (UD Itaipu) as the carbon source for hydrocarbon production. Additionally, 53 Nm³/day of green hydrogen produced by the Hydrogen Research Center (NUPHI) at Itaipu Technological Park (PTI) will be used.

The biosyncrude produced at the pilot plant will be sent to the Laboratory of Kinetics and Applied Thermodynamics (LACTA) at UFPR (Curitiba/PR) for characterization and refining to obtain SAF. Furthermore, the Laboratory of Materials and Renewable Energies (LABMATER) at UFPR (Palotina/PR) conducted studies on the dry reforming process of biogas and developed the catalysts used in the pilot plant.

"This is the country's first biosyncrude plant. Its objective is to economically enable a route for green fuel production by valorizing biogas through the integration of catalytic reforming and Fischer-Tropsch technologies, with emphasis on developing the Power-to-X market in the state of Paraná," says Markus Francke, director of the H2Brasil project.

Under the Brazil-Germany Cooperation and CIBiogás partnership, a dynamic map was also created to identify areas with the highest potential for SAF production in Paraná. "This map highlights the most promising regions for producing aviation bio-kerosene from biogas. The analysis reveals that Paraná has a potential to produce 15,000 cubic meters per year of SAF from biogas generated by operational plants mapped in the state in 2022," explains Rafael Hernando de Aguiar Gonzalez, CEO of CIBiogás. He further states that this volume corresponds to approximately 4% of the total aviation kerosene supply in the southern region of Brazil in 2023.

The partnership also includes support from the Araucária Foundation, which provided financial support through investments under the New Arrangement for Research and Innovation in Renewable Hydrocarbons (NAPI-HCR). The new arrangement aims to promote the organization, integration, and coordination of structural actions aimed at modernizing and promoting the bioenergy sector in the state of Paraná, bringing together key leaders in the state working on the development of technologies for the production and use of synthetic fuels capable of significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation and road transport sectors.

According to Prof. Luiz Pereira Ramos (UFPR), facilitator of NAPI-HCR, the conception, installation, and operation of the pilot unit, carried out in collaboration with several members of his team, represents a milestone for the development of the state's bioenergy sector. "In addition to clearly demonstrating that its main objective is being fulfilled, which is to position the state of Paraná in a condition of excellence in the search for sustainable technologies that can contribute significantly to the energy transition towards a low-carbon economy," he says.

Aviation Decarbonization

With climate goals established in the Paris Agreement, based on decarbonization and zero-emission criteria set for 2030 and 2050, CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) was created in 2016. The program aims to create market mechanisms and complement efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the international civil aviation sector, limiting the projected increase in emissions in the coming years.

The aviation sector, which is difficult to reduce in terms of GHG emissions, emits approximately 800 million tons of CO2 annually into the atmosphere and has therefore received special attention from the international scientific community. As substitutes for fossil fuels, sustainable aviation fuels can be obtained from various technological routes and raw materials ranging from vegetable oils to ethanol and biogas. Several routes have already been nationally and internationally approved for SAF production, whose use is currently restricted to blends of up to 50% with petrochemical-based aviation kerosene (Jet A-1).

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