Brazilian Hydroelectricity Giant Promotes Biogas
Ipsnews.net, September 3rd
After more than four decades of highly concentrated electricity generation, Brazil is leaving behind this worn-out model and moving towards distributed and decentralised power production
The massive Itaipú hydroelectric dam, shared by Brazil and Paraguay, has now become a model for the micro-scale production of an energy source that is not only clean, but also helps to reduce pollution and promote local development: biogas.
Producing biogas from animal manure fulfils this pollution-fighting function. But it also reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and provides a source of income for local farmers, explained Cícero Bley, superintendent of Renewable Energies at Itaipú Binacional, in an interview with Tierramérica.
The prospect of incorporating the energy business into his farming activity was an exciting one for cattle farmer Gedson Vargas. His enthusiasm probably played a decisive role in his rise to the presidency of the Coperbiogás cooperative, despite the fact that he was a relative newcomer among the traditional inhabitants of the Ajuricaba River valley, many of whom are descendents of German immigrants.
- I started out with 12 borrowed cows, but I grew, and now I have 40, plus 12 calves, he told Tierramérica. With these, he produces enough biogas for household consumption as well as a surplus supply. But he is limited by the small size of his current biodigester, a mere 10 cubic metres. He hopes to obtain a larger one through Itaipú, which might be one abandoned by a neighbour.