Exciting Pilot Project in Brazil: Green Hydrogen from Biogas

By | 2024-02-26

A Case Study from the state of Paraná, Brazil

Sanepar, Paraná’s water and wastewater management company, AHK, Brazil-Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and CIBiogás, International Center for Renewable Energy, are jointly developing a pilot project to produce green hydrogen from biogas generated from wastewater.

Sanepar, together with electric utility company Copel are working on a disruptive innovation project to produce hydrogen from the catalytic reforming of biogas generated at wastewater treatment facility.

The project based in the state of Paraná includes a production unit with a capacity of 14 kg of H2/day, the equivalent of supplying three electric cars. It will be the first plant in Brazil to produce renewable hydrogen focused on the dry catalytic reforming of biogas from sewage. This project was approved first in the MCTI/FINEP/FNDCT Public Selection, with a budget of BRL 12 million (approximately USD 2 million), with resources from Finep, a public financing company, Sanepar and Copel. Cibiogás and UFPR act as partner science and technology institutions.

Sanepar’s wastewater treatment plant in the state of Parana

Additionally, AHK Rio and the German government is working on a feasibility study for the introduction of renewable hydrogen production technologies in wastewater treatment plants throughout Paraná. A team of consultants in partnership with Sanepar are evaluating marketing, regulatory and business aspects of such projects. The project estimates that Sanepar’s wastewater plants have the potential to produce more than 60 million cubic meters of renewable hydrogen per year and that there are around 300 potential customers in Paraná who already use hydrogen in their processes.

Sanepar’s Research and Innovation manager, Gustavo Possetti, states that the production of renewable hydrogen from biogas is in line with international agendas focused on promoting circular and low-carbon economies.

On a larger scale, the use of biogas to produce hydrogen is being investigated as the state of Parana has almost 160 anaerobic digesters. It is estimated that if all produced biogas is used, there is a potential of generating almost 2 billion cubic meters per year of renewable hydrogen.

To facilitate this innovation, the state of Paraná is developing a framework to promote the use of this renewable energy for use in industry through the State Hydrogen Policy. It encourages the reduction of bureaucracy for environmental licensing for projects and the establishment of new tax incentives to develop green hydrogen from biogas.

Sanepar’s wastewater treatment plant in the state of Parana

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