Case Study - AGC controller makes Brazil Greener

Brazil has long been a leader in renewable energy. Over the past three decades, it has built a sugar cane to ethanol fuel industry that now produces more than 5 billion gallons per year, one third of the world's total. All gasoline in the country contains 25 percent ethanol, and a quarter of all cars can run on either pure methanol or the gasoline blend.

In January of 2008, a new renewable energy operation opened in that country that provides 25MW of electricity while eliminating millions of tons of CO2 annually. Along the sides of a 500 foot high mountain of waste in the São Paulo district of São João, runs a system of plastic pipes to capture and remove the methane generated by the trash. The filtered gas is the fuel for 16 1.54MW Caterpillar G3520C gensets at a nearby 25MW gas power plant.

Sotreq, the biggest Caterpillar dealer in Brazil, chose DEIF’s AGC (Automatic Genset Controller) units to control the generators of the biogas plant due to the stability, speed, user friendliness and protection functions of the AGC. Since the plant went into operation, it has reduced methane emissions from the landfill amounting to several million metric tons of CO2. Through the sale of CO2 quotas, the reductions have generated substantial profits to the owner – profits to be invested in new biogas and power plant projects.

“There are few biogas projects in Brazil, but the positive experiences from the São João project make the future construction of similar installations more likely,” said Mauricio Garcia, Engineer Manager from Sotreq.

Also in South America and engineered by Sotreq is an installation of 144 Caterpillar C32 gensets all running in parallel. Connected in 9 groups of 16, the banks of 16 units are dispatched by a host computer, with the advanced power management features described being done by the DEIF AGC within the 9 banks of generators.

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