The Ajuricaba Agro Energy Condo for Family Farming consisting of 33 farms that produce 16,000 tons per year of organic animal waste, enabling generation of about 266,000 m³/year of biogas. The farms have individual digesters that produce biogas and biofertilizer. Part of biogas is used for cooking food and sterilizing milking. The surplus is transported by a 25,5 km pipeline to a Thermoelectric Micro Center, which is used to dry grain and generate electricity.

Among the achievements of the unit stand out increasing of agricultural production, diversification of economic activities, quality of life improviment by the reduction of odors and insects, energy security, soil and water conservation,  reduction of rural migration, increased opportunities in family farming, reduction of production costs and generate additional income.

 

A -General Information

 

START: September 2009 (in progress)

EXECUTING AGENT: Itaipu Binational and City of Marechal Cândido Rondon

CO-EXECUTING ENTITY: International Centre for Renewable Energy -Biogas/CIBiogas-ER

PARTNERS: International Centre for Hydroinformatics - CIH; Itaipu Technological Park Foundation - FPTI; Paraná Institute of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension - EMATER; Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation - Embrapa

PRESENTED BY: Marcelo Souza

RESOURCES: Own

CATEGORY: Reference Unit

MAIN THEMATIC AREA: Renewable energy

KEYWORDS: CIBIOGAS, Renewable Energy, Agro Energy Condo, Biogas, Family Agriculture, Biomethane

TARGET AUDIENCE: Family farmers, group of producers and farmers associations. Entities and institutions that can develop projects like this: agribusinesses, cooperatives, trade unions, private companies, energy companies and government departments.

LOCATION: Rural Area

GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE: Local

SPECIFIC IMPLEMENTATION AREA: Ajuricaba River Micro basin within the limits of the city of Marechal Cândido Rondon - Paraná.

 

 

B - Practice Description

 

1- BACKGROUND

Family farming activities, which represent 85% of the agrarian structure of the state of Paraná, are reflected in the local trade, and industry supplies them with machinery, inputs, seeds, tools, etc. Among the different agricultural activities practiced in smallholdings in western Paraná, we can observe livestock production, which represents a big environmental impact in rural areas. In general, animal waste, byproduct of the production units, is collected and stored in tanks or simply left outdoors for decomposition in processes that release methane gas and, to a lesser extent, nitrous oxide, both extremely harmful to the environment. The final waste and residues disposal, when performed without adequate health treatment, can contaminate surface water bodies and underground aquifers, and generate a lot of greenhouse gases, odors and to attract insects. 

These same agricultural activities, together with household uses, require high energy levels, especially in automated processes, that contribute to improve productivity and workers’ quality of life, but can significantly rise the costs of production process. 

On the other hand, technical feasibility studies and cost of deploying an agro energy condo showed that it was possible to turn an environmental liability of family farming in an economic asset, providing a favorable environment to strengthen agriculture in a family scale and corroborating to the family succession. The bioenergy production in family farming had the potential to generate positive impact on small towns and mobilize a new local economy. In this sense was designed the Ajuricaba Agro Energy Condo for Family Farming, which includes 33 countryside family farms, integrated through biogas' ducts that transporting biogas from the digestion process of the animal waste to a storage unit and to thermal, electrical and vehicle energy production.

 

2- GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Promote the integration of small farmers in agro energy and strengthen family farming by the technology diffusion in the field, and income generation from the residual biomass. 

Specific objectives:

- Develop biogas as a product of family farming. 

- Encourage the maximum recovery of biogas and fertilizer products;

- Help small farmers to access treatment of livestock production waste systems;

- Develop low cost and easy maintenance technologies for application in family farming;

- Reduce environmental impacts on water and air, produced by organic effluents and residues (waste) generated;

- Format a business model based on cooperative to manage the collective biogas production;

- Improve quality of farmers’ life;

- Promote conditions to fix man in the field, with job opportunities generation and new gain perspectives.

 

3 - ADOPTED SOLUTION 

The implementation of agro energy condo required development of various technologies and methodologies. Because it is an innovation, many of its needs were not met by market technologies. This generated a positive impact on the advancement of biogas related technologies as they have been developed taking into account equipment and methodologies nationalization, the low cost and easy maintenance. As a result, here are some of the technologies and methodologies developed:

a) Definition of properties and participation eligibility criteria: it was decided that the city's support would be required in the assignment of public space for the implementation of MCT. It has also been pre-established that the properties included in the condo should be in the same basin. Farmers were asked to participate in the condo according to the availability of organic matter for biogas production in their properties and commitment as to their suitability for the digestion system developed (from gate to inside);

b) Production and primary conduit of biogas linking properties to the storage and processing unit; 

c) Agro energy condo for family farming design, through a cooperative formation (Cooperbiogás);

d) Development of biogas conversion systems in thermal energy (grain dryer and cooking) as well as electric and vehicle through a Thermoelectric Micro-Station (MCT);

e) Control and protection development for small electricity generators;

f) Recommendations for use and environmentally correct applications for soil fertility (biofertilizer);

g) Documentation, validation and dissemination of the employed technologies;

In the area where the Thermoelectric Micro-station was installed, the biogas produced has three conversion possibilities: electricity, thermal energy and vehicle power. The use of electricity is carried out by means of motor-generator group, with connection to the local distribution network in Distributed Generation. Biogas is also employed as a source of indirect heat in the grains’ dryer. The vehicle application is possible from the biogas purification (biomethane), with high calorific value, which is treated in Biogas Treatment Unit (UTB).

The system also allows farmers to use part of the biogas produced in the property for cooking food, heating water for bathing and cleaning milking equipment.

 

4 - ACHIEVEMENT

- 33 local farmers entered the condo;

- Average daily flow rate of 48.43 m³ effluents;

- Average daily production of 821.8 m³ of biogas; 

- Thermal use of biogas for stored grain drying of the condo members producers;

- Average daily production of 1.15 MWh of electricity from the biogas conversion through power generator;

- Use of biogas in rural properties for cooking food, heating water for bathing and cleaning milking equipment. These applications generate comfort, cleanliness, quality and productivity in daily activities on the property;

- Reduction of environmental impacts and odors and insects on the property, due to the suitable effluent treatment and disposal of organic waste generated by pig farming and dairy production; 

- Organic matter, transformed into high quality bio-fertilizer is applied to pasture and other agricultural crops, allowing the increase in productivity and reduction of production costs;

- Income generation for Cooperbiogás through the "net metering" compensation system.

 

5 - REQUIRED RESOURCES

To implement the project, an engineers’ team was necessary (environmental, civil, mechanical, agricultural and electrician), and specialized consulting firms in the execution of civil works in farms' adequacy, implementation of biodigestion systems, implementation of rural pipelines and required infrastructure for operation of thermoelectric micro-station.

Note that each project designed to technical feasibility of Ajuricaba Agro Energy Condo for Family Farming was designed from the exchange of information with project partners, technical and scientific references, as well as the expertise acquired by Itaipu Binational in other biogas projects of the institution. 

 

 

6 - TRANSFER

Currently, four projects are being implemented based on the experience of Ajuricaba Agro Energy Condo for Family Farming:

a) Uruguay Project: Located in the Department of San José, in the town of Ecilda Paullier, Uruguay, the called Colony Delta community will receive the facilities and adjustments required for the generation of electricity and heat from biogas. The first is being implemented, covering 7 properties, 7.7 km of rural pipelines and thermoelectric micro-station.

b) Itapiranga Condo: The project in the city of Itapiranga - Santa Catarina aims to deploy a bioenergy condo consisting of 12 properties from the anaerobic treatment of pig farming waste produce about 1,511 m³/day. These properties will be linked to the thermoelectric plant by a 10 km pipeline, containing a storage and treatment system of biogas. This plant will be sized to produce electricity, with a maximum installed capacity of 400 kW.

c) Entre Rios do Oeste Condo: The manure from swine and cattle are the main source of residual biomass of Entre Rios do Oeste/PR. Thus, the biogas production will take place on farms, through the treatment of waste in digesters. The potential for biogas production is immense, given that the city rural area includes 93 pig farms, with a roster of more than 133,000 stabled animals. 

d) Lajeado Grande Condo Project: Located in the city of Toledo - PR, the proposed condo occupies the lower part of the Lajeado Grande microbasin, comprising 39 participants from the condo where 37 producers are pig and/or dairy and/or birds farmers and 2 poultry producers. The biogas daily production estimate is around 4680.23 m³.

 

7 - LESSONS LEARNED

Despite the importance in reducing the environmental impact, the implementation of this practice becomes economically viable having the establishment of regulatory frameworks established by the State as a premise, that include renewable energy within the supply chain grid. 

It is also important to consider the complexity of social relations in shaping agro energy condos and cooperatives, a fact that demand efforts for reconciliation of different interests and cultural differences, and partnerships with other local institutions that assist in liaison with those involved in the process. The established partnerships were essential for the project success, highlighting the Binational Itaipu and the city of Marechal Cândido Rondon work in the viability of financial resources and area for unit deployment, the local utility power enabling the system's connection to the power grid and the commitment of farmers through the cooperative and the execution of their responsibility activities within the farm.

The involvement of farmers in project implementation discussions was extremely healthy, considering that this action led to a sense of the product liability with the project, an essential fact for project sustainability.

 

There is the possibility of visiting the practice by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays of the second and fourth week of each month.

Number of visitors: 01-40.

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