Asja: green energy for Brazil thanks to biogas from landfills


The Italian company has inaugurated at Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a new plant for the reduction of greenhouse gases and energy conversion of biogas from the biodegradation of refuse in the city landfill closed in 2007, and therefore defusing an ecological bomb that was ready to explode

The Italian company Asja has inaugurated at Belo Horizonte in Brazil, a new plant for the reduction of greenhouse gases and energy conversion of biogas from the biodegradation of refuse in the city landfill, closed in 2007. The plant, which has a capacity of about 650,000 cubic metres, will receive about 4 million tonnes of refuse per day from the houses of more than 4 million inhabitants. The 25 million tonnes of refuse present in the landfill ferment, producing biogas, a gaseous mixture made up 50% by methane gas, which, other than being highly inflammable, is also harmful to the environment if we consider that its impact on the greenhouse effect is 21 times higher than CO2. The plant, designed and realized by Asja by means of the Consorzio Horizonte Asja, with the collaboration of the Municipality of Belo Horizonte (the city where Asja has its Brazilian branch), will not only defuse this ecological bomb that was ready to explode, but will also supply about 20,000 families with green energy. The plant will, in fact, collect and use the biogas produced by the anaerobic fermentation of refuse for the production of energy to fuel 3 1.426 kW motors, for a total of 4.278 kW, thus avoiding the problems connected to its uncontrolled release into the atmosphere: bad smells, risk of fire and increase in the greenhouse effect. The installation of a fourth motor has already been scheduled for September, which will take total installed power to 5 MW. This is the first biogas plant in the state of Minas Gerais and one of the first five for installed power in all Brazil: according to calculations, it will avoid the release of 4 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the next 15 years, which has led to the registration of the project at the United Nations as CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) project, as part of the Kyoto Protocol. The about 2,750 MWh of clean electricity per month produced, will be sold to the electricity company of the state of Minas Gerais Cemig, thanks to a four-year contract. Asja has already signed new agreements for the construction and management of two similar plants at Uberlandia (third city of the state of Minas Gerais for number of inhabitants) and at Natal (Capital of the Rio Grande do Norte state) each in partnership with the local company that manages the landfill and holds the rights to use the biogas. These new sites are expected to start operations at the beginning of 2012 and the beginning of 2012 respectively. "Asja has been designing, building and managing plants for the reduction of greenhouse gases for 6 years, creating real environmental benefits in the area in which it operates," says Agostino Re Rebaudengo, president of the Asja group, recently appointed head of Aper (Associazione Produttori Energia da fonti Rinnovabili - Association of Producers of Energy from Renewable Sources) said at the inauguration ceremony of the plant. "What we all hope is to be able to expand these activities in Brazil, bringing economic advantages and new jobs thanks to the realization of new projects."