The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil began testing a technology to process and explore energy from organic waste. Installed in a City Company of Urban Cleaning (Comlurb) processing plant in the Caju neighborhood, the pilot completed a month in operation and was able to extract 100 to 150 cubic meters of biogas per processed ton with 50% - 60% of methane concentration.
The technology, which produces fertilizer and natural gas from waste, was developed by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in partnership with companies Methanum Tecnologia Ambiental and Comlurb. Operation of the pilot plant, which was funded by BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development), will allow testing the efficiency of the methanization technology by anaerobic composting and widening the scale. With a processing capability of 30 daily tons, the plant has an estimated monthly biogas production capable of feeding a fleet of 1,000 cars or generating enough energy for just over a thousand houses, according to the Rio Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The unit consists of container-sized modules that receive waste and are then sealed for a period of two to three weeks while the bacteria introduced into the compartment degrade the organic matter and produce methane. The gas is stored while the remaining material is removed and used as fertilizer. Microorganisms are sprayed into the modules through pipes. Sensors control and optimize the biogas production. The plant also has a generator to produce electric energy from gas combustion.
The Comlurb plant in Caju neighborhood was selected because it receives solid waste from different neighborhoods, with different consumption and waste production standards, offering enough diversity to simulate the conditions of different Brazilian towns. In addition, Comlurb already has a conventional composting plant with in situ aerobic digestion, which allows comparing the results of the two technologies.
For more information, visit: www.rcvb.com.br