The importance of solid waste-based biofuels for the energy transition

A importância dos biocombustíveis baseados em resíduos sólidos para a transição energética

Due to the high supply, biofuels based on solid waste have become a solution for the energy transition.

With the need for an energy transition and the increase in energy costs due to the Russian war, biofuels based on solid waste become a solution to stop the crisis and instabilities generated by energy.

Currently, Brazil is a world reference when it comes to biofuel. Among the main ones are ethanol, biodiesel and biomethane. Biomass originating from the most varied sources can be converted directly into heat or into intermediate energy vectors (solid, liquid and gaseous) for subsequent generation of heat, electricity and biofuels, and can be manufactured from vegetable crops such as sugarcane. sugar, corn and castor bean, produced from animal waste or urban solid waste.

Due to their production, these fuels are more sustainable than fossil fuels, emitting less greenhouse gases (GHGs). However, it is still necessary for Brazil to make investments to expand the sector. According to Abiogás, the national production of biomethane is still small: 365 thousand cubic meters per day. The volume is far from the Brazilian potential, estimated at 120 million cubic meters per day, given the amount of waste produced in the country.

Biofuels based on solid waste and its importance for the energy transition

The energy transition is important for countries to be able to reduce their CO2 emissions, without changing the entire energy source at once, which has financial limits and available resources. As a result, cleaner and renewable sources are being used, such as biomass.

It is possible to produce biofuels, such as biogas and biomethane, from solid waste, such as garbage in landfills. This source has been explored all over the world. In fact, the new report by the British company Wood Mackenzie points out that it can be the main component for the energy transition.

The survey pointed out that today biofuels account for 3% of the current demand of 100 million barrels per day of liquid fuel. The analysis showed that the emergence of new technologies will boost the production of biofuel from municipal solid waste, agricultural activities or recycled plastic. If used to their full potential, the materials could supply more than 20 million barrels a day by 2050. This amount is enough to meet ¼ of all future demand for liquid fuels.

In the long term, fossil fuel production is expected to decrease, as there will be a greater supply of renewable sources, in addition to the social changes that must prevail with a more sustainable use, such as electric vehicles.

It is possible that, to circumvent the solution, without these refineries being impacted, governments and companies invest to convert the sites into sustainable businesses, mixing fossil fuel with biofuels. This helps to achieve zero carbon goals, as well as increasing the country’s energy security.

In Brazil, gasoline production is still about four times greater than that of ethanol, and the Brazilian gasoline blend has only 30% ethanol in its composition. This shows that there is still great dependence on fossil fuel production in the country. To better understand about accelerating the energy transition, read our blog content.


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