The carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies are essential mitigation solutions to comply with the climate agreements while enabling a global energy transition. Among the CCUS technologies, the simultaneous implementation of bioenergy with CCUS (BECCUS) represents one of the most efficient solutions for CO2 abatement. The Global Environment Facility indicated that the relevance of BECCUS relies on the possibility of reducing costs during the most expensive steps of the CCUS value chain, considering that the bioethanol production effluents are 99% rich in CO2 which allows the optimization of the capture and treatment processes.

Brazil is the second most CO2 emitter country of Latin America and was recognized by the Global CCS Institute as ready for wide-scale CCUS deployment. Also, Brazil is the second world’s largest biofuel producer, and therefore, has high potential for BECCUS implementation, especially in the Paraná Basin where most of the country’s bioethanol production is concentrated. In this regard, at the Institute of Energy and Environment of the University of São Paulo in collaboration with the Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI) financed by FAPESP and Shell, it is being developed a project that seeks to select the most suitable sites for CO2 reservoirs within a BECCUS system in the Paraná Basin and to identify the challenges related to environmental, regulatory, and legal aspects.

The preliminary findings of the project show that the most prospective area for BECCUS implementation is the central region of the Paraná Basin, especially the State of São Paulo because of its high levels of bioethanol production and CO2 emissions, and also because of its privileged geological location with lithologic units that meet the minimum requirements, such as reservoir depths above 800 m, good porosity and permeability, sorption into organic matter and clay minerals, and regional sealing layers to prevent CO2 leakage. So far, the most prospective lithologic units for CO2 reservoirs are the sandstones, shales, and coals of the Rio Bonito Formation; the organic-rich black shales and limestones of the Irati Formation; and the tholeiitic basalts of the Serra Geral Formation. Additionally, the project identified as main challenges the protection of the Guarani Aquifer through rigorous environmental impact assessments, the implementation of an equitable energy supply system, and the need of clear regulations for permitting and royalties distribution properly addressed by national and local authorities, especially because there does not exist yet any law for CCUS activities in Brazil.

  • Stephanie SanMartín-Cañas, Colombo Tassinari, Raissa Musarra, Richardson Abraham