In recent years, concerns have grown about increased demand for energy and waste accumulation in Brazil. Technologies that digest waste and capture biogas in the process have been presented as an avenue to address these two issues. Brazil’s biogas potential has been studied extensively, however, less investigation has estimated production across time. A system dynamics model (SDM) was developed to estimate biogas yield over a 30-year period from municipal waste, feedstock, vinasse and waste water routes. The SDM was parameterized using open databases and literature, with a focus on technology diffusion. The analysis indicates production may reach 5.3 million cubic meters/day of methane by 2030 to 19.7 million in 2050. Exchange of information (via word of mouth) exponentially increased technology adoption rates, suggesting that production can be supported by disseminating information that promotes the environmental and economic benefits of transforming biomass into energy. Slow growth was attributed to an absence of policies that incentivized production and its research and development programs. These two hurdles presented challenges for adopters to overcome high upfront costs. Future efforts should focus on the solid waste and feedstock routes given that they assumed the largest production and fast growing population of adopters, respectively. Radical and integrated policies are required to reach substantial biogas yields from four routes to address environmental and energy concerns for Brazil.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Vol 138 

Cosme P. Borges, Jéssica C. Sobczak, Timothy R. Silberg, Mauricio Uriona-Maldonado, Caroline R. Vaz

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