Brazil , Uruguay , Paraguay , Bolivia and Argentina

How authorities plan to decarbonize a key waterway

Bnamericas Published: Friday, March 05, 2021
How authorities plan to decarbonize a key waterway

The intergovernmental commission overseeing the decarbonization of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway transport system is considering the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels and electric power engines to reduce emissions of the local fleet. 

This idea is contained in a document that outlines proposals for the project and was shared with BNamericas by a Brazilian source. 

Jointly developed by Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, the plan involves upgrading the fleets and building vessels equipped with transition technologies, like LNG-fired engines, and, in a second stage, with biogas or biomethane and electric systems aiming at zero emissions. 

The latter type would include energy storage via electric batteries or hydrogen tanks, where the electricity conversion would take place in fuel cells. 

The Paraguay-Paraná waterway comprises the Paraguay and Paraná rivers from the Cáceres port in Brazil to the Nueva Palmira port in Uruguay, including the Paraná river mouth branches and the Tamengo channel, a Paraguayan branch also shared by Brazil and Bolivia.

Indirectly influencing an area of 3Mkm2 and 60mn people, the waterway is used for exporting mainly agroindustrial products and food, like soybean and its byproducts, grains, iron and liquid cargo. 

Annual load transported via the waterway jumped from 700,000t to over 20Mt over the last three decades, while the vessel fleet increased from 200 to more than 2,500 units, resulting in a growing consumption of bunker oil. 

Currently, there is not an effective regulation or incentive for the fleet to reduce emissions, which are projected to generate around 1Mt of harmful gases in the next decade, impacting the environment and the health of 25mn inhabitants in the five countries involved. 

Besides social health and environmental benefits, river transport decarbonization is regarded as an opportunity for the socioeconomic development in the region to link with sustainable infrastructure investments, while overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.

Economic growth could be fostered with the construction of vessels, ports, energy distribution networks, railroads and roads, stimulating private investments in productive activities, integrating international trade and creating jobs – the reactivation of the 15 shipyards along the waterway could generate some 100,000 jobs in the next decade, according to the document.

The decarbonization program would rely on public and private support, including non-reimbursable funds and financing via the Green Climate Fund, Nama Facility and similar sources for the construction of vessel prototypes and the production of biogas, hydrogen and fuels. 

The project foresees technical assistance from Universidad de Buenos Aires and the participation of the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade), the International Renewable Energy Association (Irena), the UN Environmental Program (PNUMA) and the Instituto de Investigación en Energía de Cataluña (IREC).

If the intergovernmental commission approves the project, it will be submitted to the Interamerican Development Bank (BIDfor analysis.

Subscribe to the leading business intelligence platform in Latin America with different tools for Providers, Contractors, Operators, Government, Legal, Financial and Insurance industries.

Subscribe to Latin America’s most trusted business intelligence platform.

Other projects in: Electric Power

Get critical information about thousands of Electric Power projects in Latin America: what stages they're in, capex, related companies, contacts and more.

  • Project: Ana Paula
  • Current stage: Blurred
  • Updated: 2 days ago

Other companies in: Electric Power (Bolivia)

Get critical information about thousands of Electric Power companies in Latin America: their projects, contacts, shareholders, related news and more.

  • Company: Gas & Electricidad S.A.  (G&E)
  • Gas & Electricidad (G&E) is a Bolivian firm that develops efficient energy solutions for local and international markets. It is engaged in electric generation and natural gas an...
  • Company: Ferrostaal Bolivia Ltda.  (Ferrostaal Bolivia)
  • Ferrostaal Bolivia Ltda. is a subsidiary of the German firm Ferrostaal GmbH. Its main line of business includes providing equipment, services, solutions and products for the gra...
  • Company: Finning Bolivia S.A.  (Finning Bolivia)
  • Finning is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer delivering unrivalled service for over 80 years. Finning sells, rents and provides parts and services for equipment and engines...
  • Company: Hidroeléctrica Boliviana S.A.  (Hidrobol)
  • Electric power generator Hidroeléctrica Boliviana (Hidrobol) operates the Río Taquesi hydropower generation complex comprising two hydroelectric plants in Bolivia's Los Yungas r...
  • Company: Grupo INGELEC (TIG)  (TIG)
  • Grupo INGELEC (TIG), founded in 1999 in La Paz, Bolivia, is a group of companies providing design, engineering, construction, and commissioning services for the generation, tran...