Joint venture Raízen Geo Biogás bets on biomethane

Eight months after holding the largest domestic IPO in 2021, Raízen, the country’s fourth largest company by revenues, is once again presenting to the market the reason that led it to seek the good graces of investors. With the support of the funds raised in the market, Raízen and its partner Geo Biogás e Tech will start to build a new biomethane plant made of residues from ethanol production in Piracicaba, São Paulo.This is the second industrial investment Raízen has unveiled since going public - the first was in a cellulosic ethanol plant in Guariba, São Paulo - and the first investment in biomethane since then.The Raízen Geo Biogas joint venture plant has already left the engineers’ desks with guaranteed customers. The first is Norwegian company Yara, the world’s largest fertilizer producer, which will use biomethane to produce "green" hydrogen and ammonia, according to a contract signed in September 2021.The second customer is Volkswagen, which will use the product in its plants in Brazil. Raízen had already announced a partnership with the German automaker in October, which also involved the delivery of electricity and the development of new ethanol formulas, but only recently closed the biomethane delivery contract. With the two clients, the Piracicaba plant’s entire production is already sold.The unit will consist of two biomethane production "modules" and will have the capacity to produce 26 million cubic meters of the renewable gas per year. Yara will receive 20,000 cubic meters of biomethane per day, while Volkswagen will receive 50,000 cubic meters per day. In both cases, the product is one way the companies have found to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of their industries.The stillage that will be used to produce biomethane is already used today as organic fertilizer in the sugarcane fields that serve Raízen’s Costa Pinto mill. The biomethane plant, however, does not change this story. The difference is that, before being distributed to the fields, the biodigestion of the stillage will reduce the amount of residual raw material, but the levels of potassium and nitrates that serve as fertilizer for the sugarcane...

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