Brazilian integrated sugarcane ethanol, sugar, and bioenergy major Raízen S.A. has announced that it has entered into an agreement for its first long-term sale of renewable natural gas (RNG) with Yara Brasil Fertilizantes S.A. (Yara), a subsidiary of Norway-headed fertilizer major Yara International ASA, and one of the largest consumers of natural gas in Brazil.
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According to a statement, this biomethane supply contract has a five-year term with a volume of 20 000 Nm3 per day. The supply of biomethane will be carried out through Raízen’s bioenergy parks using vinasse and filter cake, residues from the sugarcane ethanol production process, as substrates.
According to Raízen, which commissioned its first biogas plant in October 2020, this “pioneering transaction in the free gas market reinforces its commitment to providing its customers with products and solutions that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by increasing the efficiency and circularity nature of its processes,” without an increase in the planted area.
A biomethane first for Yara
The biomethane will be supplied via the gas grid and used by Yara to produce hydrogen and green ammonia in its complex in Cubatão, State of São Paulo (SP).
The deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, represents the first movement towards the production of green ammonia in Brazil, and the first for Yara using biomethane. Globally, Yara is developing other green ammonia projects based on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.
The incorporation of this raw material into the production process is a concrete manifestation of Yara’s efforts in Brazil to promote the decarbonization of its plants, said Daniel Hubner, VP of Industrial Solutions, Yara Brazil.
According to Hubner, the acquisition of this volume of biomethane will give the company the possibility of starting the production of green ammonia in Brazil and gradually replacing the use of natural gas, thus reducing GHG emissions by around 80 percent.
Yara has dedicated its efforts and investments to decarbonizing the global food production chain and industrial sectors, and green ammonia is fundamental to this goal. Biomethane is a promising alternative and one of the paths that can lead us to a new reality in many industries, Daniel Hubner said.
Supply to begin in 2023
The 20 000 Nm3/day biomethane volume represents 3 percent of the volume consumed by its ammonia plant in Cubatão – the largest ammonia producer in the Southeast.
The forecast is that the first batch of biomethane will be delivered to Yara in 2023, the time needed for Raízen to build a new plant to upgrade the biogas to RNG and connect it to the gas grid for distribution.
According to Hubner, the Cubatão complex is already ready to work with biomethane to replace natural gas as a raw material for the production of green ammonia.
The unit is very well positioned to serve both markets, fertilizers, and industrial solutions, supporting the decarbonization of agriculture and the chemical industry. The plant also has the capacity to export, with differentials that boost its potential, such as easy access to the distribution network, different logistical modes, labor, among other factors, Daniel Hubner said.