Image Credit Eduardo Monteiro, president of the EQM Group/ Photo: Paullo Almeida/Folha PE |visual for illustration purpose
4 minutes read

EQM Group and ZEG will produce biomethane in 2 states in the NE

Another business around the green economy is about to come to fruition in two states in the Northeast. The EQM Group and ZEG Biogás, the biogas and biomethane business arm of Vibra Energia (formerly BR Distribuidora) come together to produce high purity biomethane in Alagoas and Pernambuco. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has already been signed and in the coming days the contract will be signed between the parties.

The two new biomethane producing units will be located on EQM Group properties: Usina Utinga, in Alagoas, and Usina Cucau, in Pernambuco – where the project is a pioneer. Investments exceed R$90 million. The combined production capacity, in this first phase of implementation alone, is greater than 5.6 million cubic meters of biomethane annually.

While the EQM Group will provide areas for the physical installations of the units and will be the supplier of all the raw materials necessary for the production of biogas, ZEG will be responsible for the entire technological solution for generating biogas and purifying the ANP standard biofuel.

ZEG will also be responsible for exclusively selling all the biomethane produced in the two units to its customers, whether industrial or fleet owners, who are looking to replace diesel oil in their vehicles. The payment of the investment will be made during the implementation with equal participation.

Sustainability

With the new operations, the group from Pernambuco, led by businessman Eduardo de Queiroz Monteiro, advances in its sustainability policy, as it will use green fuel, which will significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet, generating value in its production chain.

“We will use the biomethane produced to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our business, thus making our activities even more sustainable and aligned with the global ESG agenda, generating value for the entire production chain”, said Eduardo Monteiro.

According to him, the MOU aimed to make it possible to carry out final studies, prepare the executive project and obtain installation licenses for each of the production units to be built.

Expansion through the Northeast

“This is another important step for ZEG Biogás, as it allows the expansion of biomethane production in two more states in the Northeast”, comments Eduardo Acquaviva, CEO of ZEG Biogás. “In just under six months we were able to devise and put into practice the creation of a local “hub” for generating this biofuel, and we will begin construction in the next semester”, he adds.

According to Acquaviva, the technology to be applied in this project is modular, and will allow for future expansions, as the biomethane market in Brazil is consolidated. The equipment used is developed by ZEG Biogás and its respective strategic partnerships for the tropicalization of equipment in Brazil, enabling rapid installation and operation of units even in places where the company does not have direct operations.

 What is biomethane?

Biomethane is a product derived from the purification of biogas. This, in turn, is the gas removed from the anaerobic decomposition process (in the absence of oxygen) of organic waste such as garbage, urban sewage, agriculture, livestock, pig farming and dairy cattle. In the case of mills, it will come from sugar cane.

Biogas has in its composition the main presence of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), varying between 50% and 70% of the total, and, in smaller quantities, hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), humidity (H2O ) and other gases, such as nitrogen (N2).

It is through a  biogas upgrading process  , with the purification and separation of methane and carbon dioxide that biomethane is produced.  Methane is a direct substitute for natural gas, and in addition to being used as a transportation fuel (CNG), it also has applicability in industry, homes and in the production of nitrogen fertilizers.

EQM Group

The EQM Group is part of the sugar-energy sector, with a long tradition through its units, Usina Utinga, in Alagoas, and Usina Cucau, in Pernambuco, focused on the production of sugar, ethanol and electricity, in addition to various sugarcane by-products. -sugar, including vinasse, which will be used as the primary raw material for the production of biomethane, subsequently maintaining its characteristics as an excellent quality fertilizer, within its program to advance sustainability.

ZEG Biogás, in turn, offers innovative and exclusive solutions for the generation of biogas and the purification of biomethane for industries, agribusinesses, fleets and municipalities, which wish to reduce the negative impacts caused by the use of fossil fuels, without losing competitiveness. Its strategic plan foresees R$2 billion in investments over a period of up to five years for the production and distribution of biomethane to its customers.

ZEG Biogás is a company that is part of Vibra Energia’s decarbonization solutions platform and is listed on B3 (VBR3). The company holds 50% of its share capital, together with the companies FSL (25%) and Capital Energia (25%).

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