Brazil unveils incentives to biomethane production

The renewable fuel can replace natural gas, diesel, and gasoline

Published in 21/03/2022 - 15:37 By Marieta Cazarré - Brasília

President Jair Bolsonaro today (Mar. 21) attended the launch ceremony of the incentive measures aimed at the production and sustainable use of biomethane. The renewable fuel is obtained by purifying biogas, and may replace natural gas, diesel, and gasoline.

After an interview in the garden of the Alvorada presidential residence, Bolsonaro drove a biomethane-powered tractor to the Planato Palace. It took him about ten minutes to make the four kilometer trip from the Alvorada to the Planalto Palace.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Leite signed a decree creating the National Program for the Reduction of Methane Emissions, also known as Metano Zero (“Methane Zero”), which should help make progress in the generation and use of biomethane derived from urban and rural waste.

“The program treats the waste from the city and the waste from the countryside. They’re residues from poultry, pigs, sugar cane, dairy products, and landfills—all this to generate biogas, which in turn generates energy, and biomethane, which generates fuel for heavy vehicles. We will have the opportunity to ride trucks, tractors, and buses powered by biomethane, slashing fuel costs,” said Leite.

Minister of Mines and Energy Bento Albuquerque signed a decree including investments in biomethane under the country’s Special Regime of Incentives for Infrastructure Development (REIDI), and exempting new projects from PIS/Cofins taxes for the acquisition of machinery, construction materials, and equipment.

“We’re taking a new step towards the consolidation of the open and competitive market we seek by providing bioenergy investors with the same conditions as those available to natural gas producers,” Albuquerque noted.

According to the federal government, the inclusion of biomethane should enable the construction of new plants producing the fuel, increasing supply and the installation of green corridors for heavy vehicles, impacting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The total investment planned is upwards of BRL 7 billion, generating at least 6,500 jobs in the construction and operation of the new units. The goal is to build 25 new plants across six states.

In a short time, Bolsonaro said, the country could have the equivalent of four times the gas it receives from Bolivia, without taxes. “If the man from the field is going to do something to generate energy, he’s not going to pay PIS, Cofins, or the Tax on the Circulation of Goods and Services. In other words, it’s our own energy, and it won’t be burdened by the taxes.”

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Graça Adjuto

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