Biogas Demonstration Unit for Sustainable Rural Energy Development

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This project aims to tackle the issues of rural energy scarcity, high volumes of biomass feedstock and problems of waste disposal by installing an anaerobic biodigester in the region of Los Pinos, Balcarce.

As in other countries, small rural communities in Argentina have a scarce supply of energy but possess potential to harness high volumes of biomass feedstock for bioenergy generation through their agricultural and livestock activities. In addition to emissions produced by the use of fossil fuels, waste disposal related to poor waste management practices is an associated environmental challenge.

This core project aims to tackle these issues by installing an anaerobic biodigester in the region of Los Pinos, Balcarce. One innovative aspect of the project is the use of mixed substrates, generating biogas from municipal waste, animal manure, dairy industry waste and crop residues. The biogas produced will provide energy for twenty households and will also be used to provide electricity for the community water pump system.

The municipal authorities will support the project through the Production and Employment Secretary. A joint board of directors formed by a cooperative (comprising members of the community) and the government will manage the unit. A framework for the long term sustainability of the project will consider affordable tariffs and financial viability.

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • To conduct a detailed baseline study of available resources and energy demand
  • To implement the biogas plant and gas pipelines, establish a mixed management model and train on-site staff
  • To offer training activities for future technical operations and maintenance, including the creation of manuals and technical standards

The project is being led by INTA and CONICET, which are devoted to developing sustainable innovation and transformation, together with FCA–UNMdP. The municipal authorities will support the project through the Production and Employment Secretary. The project duration is eighteen months, starting in January 2017.

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