São Francisco mill is self-sufficient in energy, producing it from sugarcane bagasse combustion. Highly efficient boilers guarantee the complete burning of this biomass, without any sulphur emissions. These boilers generate steam to be converted in thermic, mechanic and electric energy. The steam runs a turbo-generator to attend all the factory needs in electric energy.
Since June, 1987, the exceeding electric energy is sold to CPFL (São Paulo State Light and Power Company), what makes São Francisco Mill the pioneer in trading co-generated eletricity from sugarcane bagasse.
Nowadays, Santo Antonio and São Francisco Mills are producing 145 GWh every year, out of which 55 GWh are for internal consumption while 90 GWh are traded with CPFL. This surplus is enough to run a 310 thousand inhabitants city.
New capital inversions at UFRA will elevate total electricity production from 2010, on to 215 GWh, with a 146 GWh surplus, big enough to supply all the needs for a 500 thousands inhabitants’ town.
The expansion of this co-generation model to other sugarmills could mitigate electricity supply black-out risks in the Northeast region of São Paulo State. The sugarcane harvest season occurs from May to November, when the water level in hydroelectric lakes is lower.
Besides this strategic advantage, the electric energy co-generation system from sugarcane bagasse combustion presents considerably lower greenhouse gases emissions, when compared to fossil fueled thermoelectric facilities. Balbo Group’s co-generation project was analysed and approved according to the Kioto protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and 111 thousand tons in Carbon Credit Certificates related to avoided emissions from 2002 to 2007 were already issued and traded.
Sugarcane agro-industry has a great potential in this area, in the following actions:
01. Replacing conventional for organic farmimg;
02. Stablishing biodiversity islands among sugarcane fields;
03. Producing fuel ethanol (non-fossil fuel) and its derivates;
04. Co-generating energy from sugarcane bagasse;
05. Replacing beet sugar for cane sugar.