Once a threat to the environment and the local hydroelectric operation, manure from chickens and cows is being used to power a Scania bus in southern Brazil. The waste is converted to biomethane which then drives the bus’ Scania Euro 6 gas engine.
Scania is helping to pioneer the use of biofuel in Brazil. The company has been cooperating with Brazilian hydroelectric company Itaipu Binacional and other partners in a trial that has seen poultry and cattle manure converted into biofuel. In terms of electricity production, the Itaipu power plant is the world’s largest. The fuel has successfully been used in a Scania Euro 6 gas bus, demonstrating its potential as a sustainable power source.
Converting the manure to biomethane is a way of solving a number of environmental problems facing Paraná state in southern Brazil.
Contaminates water and damaging turbines
The region is home to a significant amount of agribusiness, including many small to medium sized farms that produce poultry and eggs. Unfortunately, the waste from these farms frequently ends up in rivers. Here it contaminates the water and also creates problems for Itaipu Binacional’s hydroelectric operations by damaging turbines.
To help solve these problems, Itaipu is encouraging local farmers to produce biofuel from waste rather than discarding it. Farm operators now create biofuel on their properties before supplying it the hydroelectric operator for use in a range of purposes.
Scania happily supplied a Euro 6 gas bus for testing at Itaipu’s request. The vehicle is 15 metres long, capable of carrying up to 120 passengers and has two articulated steering axles. The bus and results from the fuel trial were recently presented to dignitaries and the media at Itaipu Technological Park. The Ambassador of Sweden in Brazil, Per-Arne Hjelmborn, was one of the keynote speakers in the event, highlighting that Sweden could cooperate with Brazil to develop the biogas chain to be used in transport solutions.
Significantly less pollution
As well as stopping manure ending up in waterways, there are numerous advantages to the use of Scania biogas buses. The bus being trialled emits 70 percent less pollution than a similar Euro 6 diesel vehicle.
Despite the clear advantages of biomethane, biogas vehicles are not currently used in Brazil. However, the Brazilian National Oil Agency is pushing for regulation of the fuel to allow for its wider use.
The bus used in the Brazilian trial has also been tested in Bogotá, Colombia and Mexico City and León, México. However, in both countries it was fuelled with natural gas.
Some 37 percent of Brazil’s GDP comes from agribusiness and the country has a population of more than 200 million people. Using biomass from the nation’s agricultural waste to produce biomethane could have major environmental and economic benefits.
The bus trial came about as a result of cooperation between Binational Itaipu, the Itaipu Technological Park Foundation, Scania Brazil, the Farm-Haacke and Renewable Biogas / CIBiogás ER-International Centre for Energy.