BRAZIL

Seara pig producers generate electricity from animal waste

Through the installation of biodigesters that transform methane into energy, integrated producers reduce their electricity bills by 60% – and develop an alternative source of income.

Posted on Apr 08 ,00:05

Seara pig producers generate electricity from animal waste

Seara pig producers generate clean, renewable energy from animal waste. Adopting the practice directly impacts the producer's profitability and can become a second source of income, through the sale of the asset. Encouraged by JBS, integrated producers are adopting the use of biodigesters that transform methane gas into fuel used as a source for generating electricity. Savings on electricity bills from the adoption of biodigesters reach 60%.

Currently, around 30% of Seara's integrated pig farming properties with the potential to install biodigesters already have the equipment. The Midwest has the largest number of these farms. In Dourados alone, in Mato Grosso do Sul, 39% of potential properties already use the technology. This is the case of the farms owned by veterinarian Celso Philippi Junior, who supplies his properties from the energy generated there.

“The two farms produce 50,000 kWh of energy per month which, among other things, supplies the homes of employees who live on the farm and the fertilizer distribution system in pastures. This represents 70% of our monthly energy needs”, says the producer. According to him, production for self-supply represents a reduction of approximately 50% in production costs. “This shows the power of pig farming”, he adds. The farms, located in Jateí and Glória de Dourados, have already received R$ 1 million in investments each for the installation of biodigesters. According to Philippi, in around three years he reaped the return on this investment.

In addition to savings, the installation of biodigesters can represent an increase in income for producers, through the sale of energy. In the city of Caibi, in Santa Catarina, Edson Orsolin produces around 60 thousand kWh of renewable electricity per month. Of these, 20 thousand kWh are destined for consumption on the property. The other 40 thousand kWh are sold, adding R$ 15 thousand reais per month to the producer's revenue. “My expectation is to obtain a return on investment in five years,” says Orsolin.

Vamiré Luiz Sens Júnior, executive manager of Agriculture at Seara, adds that using waste to generate energy is a way to contribute to the sustainability of the business. “The installation of biodigesters is an intelligent way to transform waste into a profitable business. In addition to generating savings in the energy cost of the property, biogas can be a potential source of income for the producer”, he explains.

Biodigesters are concrete structures covered by canvas that stimulate the fermentation of organic matter, releasing the gas produced through the fermentation of waste. It is a type of bubble that stores methane gas that will be transformed into fuel used by generators to produce electricity on the farm.

JBS has already invested more than R$220 million globally in biogas capture projects in its operations to generate energy in 14 factories in the United States and Canada, in addition to nine Friboi units in Brazil. In Brazil, the implementation of methane capture at Friboi facilities through the effluent treatment system has enabled the removal of more than 80 thousand cubic meters of biogas per day.

Projects of this nature in factories in the United States and Canada produce 190 thousand m³/d of biogas. This clean energy powers boilers and is used to produce electricity in the units, in addition to being sold to gas companies. These projects reduced external demand for natural gas, a fossil fuel, by 20%, and caused the company to stop emitting 650 thousand tons of greenhouse gases per year. The company intends to expand biogas production projects in both countries.

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