This paper presents the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion of vinasse and its impact in different contexts. The use of vinasse biogas (VBG) for power generation is evaluated and the potential of this energy source is compared with fossil oil power plants in terms of energy, costs and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in Brazil, suggesting a program where the most expensive oil power plants are replaced by biogas plants with benefits in all aspects. Secondly, the use of vinasse biomethane (VBM) to replace natural gas (NG) in the state of São Paulo is examined, presenting an incentive program that could make this alternative fuel feasible even in smaller scale plants with minimal impact on NG costs in this state, while providing considerable emission reduction. The impact of VBG considering the increase in ethanol production over the next ten years is also evaluated, showing that substantial additional energy can be obtained and larger amounts of fossil fuels can be replaced. By crossing vinasse biogas potential with selected fossil fuels demand, the article brings insights to help the transition to a low-carbon society in a novel approach. The conclusions are that VBG and VBM can provide great benefits, such as USD 1 billion/year cost reductions and 6.7 million tons CO2e/year emissions avoided by replacing fossil oil by biogas in power generation in Brazil and 3.2 million tons CO2e/year avoided with biomethane replacing natural gas in the state of São Paulo, which, with specific programs and policies, could be achieved.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Vol 135
Jorge Vinicius Silva Neto, Waldyr L.R. Gallo

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