State of the art of the biogas production in Chile

DepoTech 2008, pp. 633-636. VGE Verlag GMBH Essen. 2008. ISBN 978-3-86797-028-0.


Chile has limited domestic energy resources and is extremely vulnerable to the volatility of international fuel prices or supply interruptions (especially natural gas supply from Argentina). Chile imports 99 % of its crude oil, 98 % of its coal and 80 % of its natural, and currently imports almost two-thirds of its primary energy consumption. Moreover, energy infrastructure expenditures contribute to a high share of the GDP and generation and use of energy is responsible for high environmental and antropogenic impacts (air pollution, soil acidification, ecosystem devastation), and the decline of biodiversity.

Currently, Chile is living one of its most complexes energy crisis. The strategic planning of the previous ten years fostered the use of natural gas from Argentina as raw material for energy generation. The Argentinian supply, once considered a sure bet, has had several complications during the last two years, making the energy market in Chile unstable and lacking the stability given by alternative energy sources. In this regard, one of the most promising alternatives is the use of the generated biomass for the generation of biogas and its subsequent energetic use. The objective of the here introduced work is therefore to assess the potential and perspective of biogas generation and use in Chile. The work starts with the analysis of the (renewable) energetic situation in Chile. Afterwards, possible sources for biogas generation are analyzed, and a quantitative sectorial biogas potential is assessed. The work furthermore introduces one case study, which is a biogas plant in the rural community of Negrete, 150 km south of the city of Concepción. This plant, the first in Chile to be implemented with a biogas generation designed for electricity generation, is using mostly animal waste, as well as food waste, fat and other residues.

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