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Uruguay — Biogas Microgeneration System

Key Objectives:
  • Demonstrate significant GHG emissions reduction through use of local renewable energy
  • Reduce environmental impact of waste management on water resources
  • Provide a higher supply of sustainable electric energy to the beneficiaries, giving them the capacity to self-supply and the potential to increase incomes by selling excess energy back to the grid
  • Improve environmental awareness 
  • Build local capacity in the development, operation, and maintenance of a biogas system
  • Use project as a pilot for replication, increasing local incentives to use renewable energies to mitigate climate change
San José, Uruguay

The community of Colonia Delta, nestled in the west of the Department of San José, Uruguay, has been chosen for the installation of a biogas microgeneration system. Using the manure from its principal cattle and dairy industry, the waste will be used to produce heat and electricity through a biogas system. This system will reduce the environmental impact of raising cattle by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the condition of surface and groundwater resources. The GSEP project will be the first of three phases that, when completed, will allow the biogas system to produce a total of 249 kW of electricity, giving the beneficiaries, mainly small dairy farmers, the capacity to self-supply in a sustainable way, as well as potentially sell the surplus energy to the local distribution network.  

Expert interviews residents from the Colonia Delta community to complete the feasibilty study Experts meet with leaders of the Colonia Delta community to explain the project

The Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) will work together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the development of the project. Led by member company Eletrobras and, as the project’s technical consultant, its subsidiary Itaipu Binacional (through the International Center for Renewable Energy, Biogas CIBiogás–ER), this project will be a model for replication in other regions and countries with similar social and economic contexts.

The feasibility study was completed in 2013. In December 2014, a ground mission was organized to establish the project’s management structure and the implementation team. At this occasion, a team composed of Eletrobras, CIBiogás and GSEP experts publicly presented the detailed project to the local farming community and local authorities of the Colonia Delta community in San José, Uruguay, as part of their public consultation program. The GSEP team is currently finalizing its implementation strategy, with the view of starting the site mobilization in May 2014.

GSEP, Eletrobras and UNDP representatives at a biogas site visit in Foz do Iguaçu Public presentation of the project in San José, Uruguay

The first technical training took place in Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná state, Brazil, and featured both theoretical and practical hands-on training components. Held from February 17-21, 2014 the objective of this capacity building session was to train participants in the construction and monitoring of the future agroenergy park that will be built for GSEP’s Biogas Microgeneration System project in San José, Uruguay. The theoretical component of the training covered all the details from explaining the process by which biogas turns into electric energy, to project management, construction, biogas transport and storage, and biogas’ energetic applications to project analysis. The practical component featured visits to four farms with installed biogas systems to follow their operation. A total of four trainees from the community of San José attended the workshop.

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