Residual biomass energy potential: perspectives in a peripheral region in Brazil

  • Ana Pimenta RibeiroEmail author
  • Michael Rode
Original Paper


As a part of the United Nations new sustainable development agenda, renewable energy was one of the goals identified for the sustainable use of our planet. Previous studies on biomass energy production in Brazil have shown promising results as a renewable energy source. This paper highlights opportunities for power generation from biomass in the less developed regions of Brazil. Such opportunities create new energy generation possibilities in a country that already has an enormous rate of agricultural production, enabling access to energy and therefore increasing quality of life, optimizing available resources and decentralizing the energy system. This paper aims to evaluate the regional potential of energy generation in municipalities with a low Human Development Index. The methodological approach is divided into four steps: (1) the selection of the municipalities to be studied, (2) an assessment based on the production data from the selected municipalities, (3) the calculation of energy demand and a (4) comparison of the biomass energy potential and demand. Our results indicate that three small municipalities in the Jequitinhonha Valley (Minas Novas, Turmalina and Almenara) have the potential to be self-sustainable in energy production. In accordance with the UN recommendations, this potential should be explored more thoroughly.

Graphical abstract


Biomass energy Sustainable development Energy potential Energy security 



This research is fully financed by the Brazilian research incentive program Science without Borders, from the CAPES Foundation (Proc. n BEX 12957/13-5) and is an ongoing doctorate research project from the Institute of Environmental Planning (Institut für Umweltplanung—IUP), the Leibniz Universität Hannover. We would like to thank Louise von Falkenhayn, Martha Graf and Angie Faust for the English revisions; Johannes Hermes and Eduardo Ribeiro for the valuable comments.


  1. ANEEL (2008) Atlas de energia elétrica do Brasil. In: Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica (ed) Atlas de energia elétrica do Brasil, 3rd edn. Brasília, pp 65–74Google Scholar
  2. ANEEL (2018) BIG-Banco de Informações de Geração. In: Agencia Nacional de Energia Elétrica. Accessed 30 Nov 2018
  3. Batidzirai B, Valk M, Wicke B et al (2016) Current and future technical, economic and environmental feasibility of maize and wheat residues supply for biomass energy application: illustrated for South Africa.
  4. Bhattacharyya SC (2014) Viability of off-grid electricity supply using rice husk: a case study from South Asia. Biomass Bioenerg 68:44–54. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calixto JS, Ribeiro EM, Galizoni FM, Macedo RLG (2009) Labor, land and income generation in three decades of reforestation in the Upper Jequitinhonha Valley. Rev Econ Sociol Rural 47:519–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castro-Diaz L, Lopez MC, Moran E (2018) Gender-differentiated impacts of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on downstream fishers in the Brazilian Amazon. Hum Ecol 46:411–422. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chakma S, Ranjan A, Choudhury HA et al (2016) Bioenergy from rice crop residues: role in developing economies. Clean Technol Environ Policy 18:373–394. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiaretti D (2018) Desistência da CoP cria “quase alívio” na ONU | Valor Econômico. In: Valor. Accessed 30 Nov 2018
  9. Coelho ST (2009) Increasing energy access in remote villages in Amazon region—ENERMAD Project. Accessed 6 Apr 2018
  10. Coelho ST, Goldemberg J (2013) Energy access: lessons learned in Brazil and perspectives for replication in other developing countries. Energy Policy 61:1088–1096. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coelho ST, Velázquez SM, Brighenti C (2005) Implementation of a 200 kW thermal power plant using wood residues from a sawmill industry in Brazil’s North Region. In: 14th European biomass conference and exhibition, ParisGoogle Scholar
  12. Coelho ST, Monteiro MB, Karniol M da R (2012) Atlas de Bioenergia do Brasil. São PauloGoogle Scholar
  13. Coelho ST, Lecoq F, Cortez CL et al (2014) Fuel wood consumption in Brazilian residential sector, energy consumption in households and carbon footprint of development in selected Brazilian Regions, Comparing Brazil and France. In: 22nd European biomass conference and exhibition proceedings, pp 1475–1479Google Scholar
  14. Coelho ST, Sanches-Pereira A, Tudeschini LG et al (2015) Biomass Residues as Electricity Generation Source in Low HDI Regions of Brazil. In: XI Latin-American congress on electricity generation and transmission—CLAGTEE 2015, p 8Google Scholar
  15. Coelho ST, Sanches-Pereira A, Tudeschini LG, Goldemberg J (2018) The energy transition history of fuelwood replacement for liquefied petroleum gas in Brazilian households from 1920 to 2016. Energy Policy 123:41–52. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cook P (2011) Infrastructure, rural electrification and development. Energy Sustain Dev 15:304–313. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corrêa da Silva R, de Marchi Neto I, Silva Seifert S (2016) Electricity supply security and the future role of renewable energy sources in Brazil. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 59:328–341. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dinkelman T (2010) The effects of rural electrification on employment: new evidence from South AfricaGoogle Scholar
  19. EPE (2014) Inventário Energético de Resíduos Rurais. Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  20. EPE (2018) BRAZILIAN ENERGY BALANCE 2018 | year 2017. Rio de JaneiroGoogle Scholar
  21. Escobar H (2018) Scientists, environmentalists brace for Brazil’s right turn. Science (New York, NY) 362:273–274. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ferreira J, Aragão L, Barlow J et al (2014) Brazil’s environmental leadership at risk. Science 346:706–707. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Furtado C (1965) The economic growth of Brazil. University of CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  24. Furtado C (1974) The myth of economic development and the future of the Third World. Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Galizoni FM (2000) A terra construída: família, trabalho e ambiente no Alto do Jequitinhonha, Minas Gerais. Editora do Banco do Nordeste, FortalezaGoogle Scholar
  26. GBIO, GNESD, COPPE, IEE-USP (2015) Biomass residues as energy source to improve energy access and local economic activity in low HDI regions of Brazil and Colombia (BREA), São PauloGoogle Scholar
  27. Gontijo BM (2001) Implications of the generalized eucalyptus planting in the social and biodiversity impoverishment of the upper/middle Jequitinhonha Valley- MG. Boletim Paulista de Geografia 0:57–78Google Scholar
  28. Hanna de Almeida Oliveira P, Vanclay F, Langdon EJ, Arts J (2016) The importance of cultural aspects in impact assessment and project: development: reflections from a case study of a hydroelectric dam in Brazil. Impact Assess Project Apprais 34:306–318. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hunt JD, Stilpen D, de Freitas MAV (2018) A review of the causes, impacts and solutions for electricity supply crises in Brazil. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 88:208–222. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Itaipu Binacional (2017) FAQ | ITAIPU BINACIONAL. Accessed 12 Jul 2017
  31. Lillo P, Ferrer-Martí L, Boni A, Fernández-Baldor Á (2015) Assessing management models for off-grid renewable energy electrification projects using the Human Development approach: case study in Peru. Energy Sustain Dev 25:17–26. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lucchesi A, Pereda PC, Garcia CP, Palialol BT (2017) Long-term effects of structural changes in the Brazilian electricity matrix. Clean Technol Environ Policy 19:1589–1605. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mayer FD, Salbego PRS, de Almeida TC, Hoffmann R (2015) Quantification and use of rice husk in decentralized electricity generation in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil. Clean Technol Environ Policy 17:993–1003. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moran EF, Lopez MC, Moore N et al (2018) Sustainable hydropower in the 21st century. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 201809426.
  35. Moreno B, López AJ (2008) The effect of renewable energy on employment. The case of Asturias (Spain). Renew Sustain Energy Rev 12:732–751. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nobre CA, Sampaio G, Borma LS et al (2016) Land-use and climate change risks in the Amazon and the need of a novel sustainable development paradigm. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113:10759–10768. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Oliveira LCF de S, Leite ET, Ribeiro LM de P et al (2008) Componente Humano. In: Scolforo JRS, de Oliveira AD, Tavares LM (eds) Zoneamento ecológico-econômico do Estado de Minas Gerais: componente sócioeconômico. Editora UFLA, Lavras, Minas Gerais, pp 77–100Google Scholar
  38. Oxfam Brasil (2018) País estagnado: um retrato das desigualdades brasileiras 2018Google Scholar
  39. Palmas C, Abis E, von Haaren C, Lovett A (2012) Renewables in residential development: an integrated GIS-based multicriteria approach for decentralized micro-renewable energy production in new settlement development: a case study of the eastern metropolitan area of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Energy Sustain Soc 2:10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Palmas C, Siewert A, von Haaren C (2015) Exploring the decision-space for renewable energy generation to enhance spatial efficiency. Environ Impact Assess Rev 52:9. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Panepinto D, Viggiano F, Genon G (2015a) Energy production from biomass and its relevance to urban planning and compatibility assessment: two applicative cases in Italy. Clean Technol Environ Policy 17:1429–1442. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Panepinto D, Viggiano F, Genon G (2015b) Analysis of the environmental impact of a biomass plant for the production of bioenergy. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 51:634–647. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pereira CR, Araújo DD, Araújo DD et al (2007) Avaliação de Sistemas Agroflorestais em Áreas Degradadas de Unidades Familiares de Produção do Alto Jequitinhonha, Nordeste de Minas Gerais. Rev Bras Agroecol 2:4Google Scholar
  44. Pontes N, Resende T (2018) Brasil desiste de sediar Conferência do Clima em 2019. In: Deutsche Welle Brasil. Accessed 28 Nov 2018
  45. Rego JM, Marques RM, Serra RAM (2006) Economia Brasileira, 3a edição. Ed. Saraiva, São PauloGoogle Scholar
  46. Ribeiro AP, Rode M (2016) Spatialized potential for biomass energy production in Brazil: an overview. Braz J Sci Technol 3:13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ribeiro EM, Calixto JS, Galizoni FM (2007) Agricultura Familiar e Reflorestamento no Alto Jequitinhonha. In: XLV CONGRESSO DA SOBER. LondrinaGoogle Scholar
  48. Ruas ED (1998) Participação das organizações no desenvolvimento sócio-econômico da agricultura: os casos da Almenara e Patos de Minas-MG. Universidade Federal de Lavras-UFLAGoogle Scholar
  49. Salomon KR, Lora EES (2005) Estimativa do Potencial de Geração de Energia Elétrica para Diferentes Fontes de Biogás no Brasil—Energetic Potential Estimate for Electric Energy Generation of Different Sources of Biogas in Brazil. Biomass Bioenergia 2:57–67Google Scholar
  50. Salomon KR, Lora EES (2009) Estimate of the electric energy generating potential for different sources of biogas in Brazil. Biomass Bioenerg 33:1101–1107. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. SIDRA-IBGE (2015) Produção Agrícola Municipal. Accessed 16 Oct 2016
  52. Skoulou V, Mariolis N, Zanakis G, Zabaniotou A (2011) Sustainable management of energy crops for integrated biofuels and green energy production in Greece. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 15:1928–1936. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tollefson J (2018) “Tropical Trump” victory in Brazil stuns scientists. Nature. Google Scholar
  54. Turrado Fernández S, Paredes Sánchez JP, Gutiérrez Trashorras AJ (2016) Analysis of forest residual biomass potential for bioenergy production in Spain. Clean Technol Environ Policy 18:209–218. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. UNDP (2017a) Human Development for Everyone: Briefing note for countries on the 2016 Human Development Report—Brazil, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  56. UNDP (2017b) Global Human Development Indicators. Accessed 30 Nov 2018
  57. United Nations (2015) Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  58. Voivodic M, Nobre C (2018) Um Brasil sem novas mega-hidrelétricas? In: Valor Economico. Accessed 29 Nov 2018
  59. Winemiller KO, McIntyre PB, Castello L et al (2016) Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong. Science 351:128–129. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Zurn HH, Tenfen D, Rolim JG et al (2017) Electrical energy demand efficiency efforts in Brazil, past, lessons learned, present and future: a critical review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 67:1081–1086. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAPES FoundationMinistry of Education of BrazilBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental PlanningLeibniz University of HanoverHanoverGermany

Personalised recommendations