Brazil biomass potential eclipses Belo Monte

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013

Brazil's biomass-fired thermoelectric generators have surpassed the potential of the 11.2GW Belo Monte hydroelectric mega dam, according to sugarcane industry association Unica.

The country's bioelectric power capacity has hit 11.2GW, mainly using sugarcane bagasse as the primary fuel, the group said in a statement. 

"This is something to be proud of but we can't celebrate as we'd like because the source's future is uncertain," Unica's biomass chief Zilmar Souza said. "Biomass is seen as a strategic source in Brazil's energy matrix but there is a long way to go to reach our potential."

Belo Monte in northern Pará state will be the world's third-largest power plant when completed in 2016.

According to Unica, sugarcane bagasse makes up 82% of Brazil's biomass production. It is followed by black liquor - residue from the paper making process - which comprises 14% of generation. 

The remainder comes from wood, biogas, elephant grass, palm oil, charcoal and rice husk.

Biomass makes up 8% of Brazil's power matrix, which has an overall installed capacity of 133.8GW, according to regulator Aneel. 

It is the third most represented source after hydroelectricity and gas-fired thermoelectric plants.

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