Increasing energy access in remote villages in Amazon region - ENERMAD Project
The lack of energy prevents the development of productive, economically organized and potentially employment and income-generator activities, leading to poverty and social exclusion. This article presents a Case Study focused on the electricity generation in an isolated community, developed facing to the social and environmental issues of the North region of Brazil, which concentrates the largest part of the Brazilian communities with no access to the electricity distribution network, a model of electricity supply in Brazil. The activities developed in the community, added to the ones of the residences, demand 200 kW that are supplied by a steam cycle that uses wood residues from the sawmill for electricity generation, besides feeding a greenhouse to dry the processed wood, increasing its added value. The benefits of power generation are not only for the sawmill but for the entire community. For the society, the consolidation of a generation technology that contributes to the diversification in the Brazilian Energy Matrix is presented, from decentralized renewable sources. The plant was inaugurated in November 2009 and is working in full operation.
The ENERMAD Project's goal was to install a 200 kW micro steam turbine system in an isolated community, in Pará State, Amazon region.
With this project, it is expected that suppliers will get interest in the development of small capacity equipments to confirm the economical viability of the project, as well the cost reduction and the efficient gains.
The project will help in the creation of a model to be replicated in other regions of the country, as long as there is sustainable biomass locally available, to attend isolated communities, propitiating the decentralized energy supply from renewable sources.
The chosen community for the steam cycle installation is Porto Alegre do Curumu village, at the city of Breves, Pará State. The village has about 400 inhabitants, occupying 80 houses approximately. The main economic activities of this community are wood processing, a wooden plant of handles and bases for brooms and a foodstuffs retailing.
Beyond those activities, the community has great potential for fishing and preparation of local fruits pulp (açaí) and vegetaable oil. This community was selected, and it was verified that all the processed wood in the saw-mill is derived from a extrativist reserve that possess a handling plan approved for the IBAMA - Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources.
The installation of this system in Porto Alegre do Curumu village allows the supply of constant high quality electric energy for the inhabitants of the community. Moreover, the wood drying greenhouse will add value to the processed wood, allowing an increase on the income of the community's population.
ENERMAD is a pioneer project of electric energy generation from renewable sources, it intended to install a 200 kW thermal power plant based on micro steam turbine system using wood residues from a sawmill industry located at an isolated community, in Pará state. Previously, the energy supply in the sawmill was based on a diesel generator. Although the steam turbine system, which was used in this project, is commercially available in Brazil, until this project there isn't a registration of electricity generation with biomass, with less than 200 kW of capacity in operation.
Project ENERMAD was funded by the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).
The energy supply in the sawmill industry was based on diesel generator. This generator worked 8 hours per day, 22 days per month. Considering the diesel price as U$ 1.00 per liter (the ratio Dollar to Real, the Brazilian currency, is roughly 2.3), the implementation of this project would allow the savings of U$ 2,200.00 per month to the village, which improve the local infrastructure and the productive activities.
The project was executed by the Brazilian Reference Center on Biomass (CENBIO), of the Institute of Electrotechnics and Energy (IEE), of the University of São Paulo (USP). Among the important partnerships signed for the development of the project, the partnerships with the Energy, Biomass and Environment Group (EBMA), the Mechanical Engineering College of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), which provided the selection of the adequate community besides the following of the entire process, should be considered.
The project aims at training and educating the inhabitants of the community in the system's operation and maintenance (O&M), as well as developing a sustainability model to cover the system's O&M costs.
The project has also the environmental benefits, due to the reduction in consumption of fossil fuels, which are the main responsible ones for the greenhouse effect, because biomass utilization as primary energy source presents null carbon global balance and, besides, the wood residues from the sawmill used to be open burned or unduly discharged in river banks, causing the emission of methane, which derives from the decomposition of organic matter and is approximately 20 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
The steam cycle will be fed with the wood residues from a sawmill industry located at the community and it will generate electricity to take care of the demand of the sawmill and of the nearby residences, besides generating steam to dry the wood in the greenhouse and, this way, adding value to it.
The technology was defined and the Thermoelectric Central operates according to a simple Rankine Cycle, the one with steam condenser, with the purpose of supplying the demand of the sawmill, of the brooms factory and of the residences, besides enriching the wood sold by the community, considering that part of the generated steam would feed a greenhouse to dry the processed wood, thus increasing its added value, from a process of electric and thermal generation, simultaneously, from the burn of a single fuel, which is called cogeneration. The cycle is composed of boiler, turbine, generator, condensate tank, greenhouse, condenser, MULTICYCLONE filter andwater pump.
The equipment that composes the steam cycle were acquired from manufacturers that act in the national market, for prices with significant discounts, and they were ready, in the courtyard of the factories, waiting for the end of the civil works in order to be transported to the community.
The installation of the system was ended and the commissioning of the equipment was performed by the manufacturer companies, TGM/WEG (STEAM TURBINE) and SERMATEC (BOILER).
Among the important partnerships involved in the the development of the project, the partnerships with the Energy, Biomass and Environment Group (EBMA), the Mechanical Engineering College of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), which provided the selection of the adequate community besides the follow-up of the whole process, should be considered.
The UFPA partner team is still following the project in the community, because it has other projects installed there. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources, the executor team of CENBIO does not know the installed system and it did not have the opportunity of meeting the community. The information is very positive and there was a great progress in the community since the installation of the electric Power generation system.
The fact that consumers in Amazon region are spread in a vast geographic area with a low demand makes the replication of the grid system energy supply model impracticable. In this peculiar case, the decentralized energy production represents a solution being the electric Power produced and consumed locally or in micro regions.
The success of the Project ENERMAD illustrates how small-scale decentralized biomass schemes could work. Missagia B., 2011, identified high replicability of biomass projects using sawdust. Several sawmills in the Marajó Island see this initiative as a chance for improving life quality, production processes and income in the remote areas of Amazon.
Suani Teixeira Coelho
CENBIO – Brazilian Reference Center on Biomass. Proposal of Project ENERMAD presented at the Announcement 03/2003 of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq. [S.l:s.n], 2003.
K. T. FREITAS, R. C. R. SOUZA, O. SEYE, E. C. S. SANTOS, D. J. C. XAVIER, A. A. BACELLAR. Custo de Geração de Energia Elétrica em Comunidade Isolada do Amazonas: Estudo Preliminar do Projeto NERAM. Projeto desenvolvido pelo Centro de Desenvolvimento Energético Amazônico – CDEAM, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM). Revista Brasileira de Energia, Vol. 12, N. 1, 2006.
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme. Atlas do Desenvolvimento Humano no Mundo. 2002. Available in:www.pnud.org.br/atlas
MISSAGIA, B, Agricultural and forestry residues for decentralized energy generation in Brazil, Technischen Universität Cottbus, 2011.
COELHO. S.T.; VELÁZQUEZ S.M.; BRIGHENTI, C.. Implementation of a 200 kW Thermal Power Plant using Wood Residues from a Sawmill Industry in Brazil's North Region . 14th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, 17 a 21 de Outubro de 2005, Paris, França.
Name:Increasing energy access in remote villages in Amazon region - ENERMAD Project
Brazilian Reference Center on Biomass - CENBIO
Suani Teixeira Coelho
Technology:Biomass combustion for electrification
- Forest residue
- Energy supply
Project status:Completed project