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Analysis of the Current Status of Bioenergy in Ecuador.

1 Christian Parra M. * , 2 Gabriel Barriga B. , 3 Ricardo Narváez

1 National Institute of EnergyEfficiency&RenewableEnergy (Instituto Nacional de Eficiencia Energética y Energías Renovables, INER), Quito, EC170102, Ecuador 2 Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Central University of Ecuador, Quito, EC170118, Ecuador.

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Abstract

This paper describes the current state of bioenergy production in Ecuador, its present distribution among areas, present projects, and the current legal framework focusing on the evolution of each sector. It is analyzed the future developmentin function of energy subsides and current incentives for renewable energy in Ecuador. The studiedsources are; Biofuels:

historical production, legal implications, current projects; Cogeneration: main producers, raw materials used, current energy production; Firewood: historical consumption, health implications. It was also reviewed the status of bioenergy production from biodigestion, landfill gas recovery, and waste to energy.

Keywords:biofuel, bioenergy in Ecuador, landfill gas, biogas, ethanol, biodiesel, Jatrophacurcas, municipal solid waste, biomass. =======================================================================================

* Corresponding Author:

christian.parra@iner.gob.ec Published online at http://journalsapub.org/xxx Copyright © year Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved

Corresponding Author:

wbag@hotmail.com Published online at http://journalsapub.org/xxx Copyright © year Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved

Corresponding Author:

ricardo.narvaez@iner.gob.ec Published online at http://journalsapub.org/xxx Copyright © year Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved

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1.

Introduction

The 80% of the total use of energy in the planet is based on fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas representing 400 EJ per year [1]. This dependency has not always been a tendency.In preindustrial time, biomass (wood, charcoal, grass, and plant residues) was the main fuel used. [2]. Since those times, half the world’s society moved from the use of biomass derived fuels to the use of fossil fuels [3] Indeed, more than three billion people today use biomass as the only energy source. [4] In the world's poorest countries up to 90% of all energy is supplied by biomass. Bioenergy refers to products of biomass that have been converted into liquid, solid or gas form, depending on the raw material base and the technology employed, for energy generation. Biomass encompasses a wide spectrum of plant materials ranging from agricultural, forestry and municipal wastes to crops grown specifically to make biofuels, such as bioethanol and biodiesel.[5] Bioenergy is considered the main and most important renewable energy option at present contributing with 50 EJ to global primary energy demand.[6] Ecuador has an extensive diversity of raw materials for widening Bioenergy. Agricultural wastes (banana, tuna, flowers, livestock, slaughterhouses, palmito) could be used for producing energy. In addition, bioenergy growth in Ecuador grants several advantages such as reaching energy sovereignty, promoting the agro industrial sector and in consequence promoting job opportunities.[7]

Nowadays biomass plays a significant role in energy production worldwide. Moreover, Ecuador has a huge potential of developing bioenergy. This paper seeks to determine the current state of bioenergy in Ecuador, in order to obtain a starting point for future endeavors in this area.

2. Socioeconomic situation of Ecuador

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (for its acronyms in Spanish INEC), Ecuador has 14,483,499 million habitants. An estimated 9 million Ecuadorians have economic occupation and about 1.01 million inhabitants are in unemployment condition. [8]

The country´s Gross domestic product GDP in 2011 was 61,121.47 million USD. The average change rate of GDP of Ecuador from 2000 to 2011 was 4.4%. This was higher than the 80's and 90's where it reached 1.8%. Moreover, in the decade of the 70's it had an average growth rate of 6.7%. In addition, per capita GDP in 2011 was $ 4,244.00. The extreme poverty rate has declined significantly between 1999 and 2010. In 2001 it was estimated at 40% of the population, while by 2011 the figure dropped to 17.4% of the total population. This is explained largely by emigration and economic stability achieved after adopting the U.S dollar as official means of transaction.

The total account regarding primary exports of the country is 14.071,23 million USD. The main export products are: petroleum 70%, Banana 11%, Shrimp 6,8%, Flowers 3,9%, Cocoa 1,6%. These data shows a clear oil based economy. Nevertheless, the country does not have enough refining capacity to satisfy domestic demand, although there is planned to built a refinery for oil derivate production in Manta City, in order to reduce the import of

gasoline, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Due to its geographical location, Ecuador has vast diversity in agricultural production and a potential for several renewable energies. [9]

3. Ecuadorian Energy sector

3.1.Legal Framework

The Constitution of the Ecuador in its Article 15 states that:

The State shall promote in the public and private sector the use of environmentally friendly and low impact technologies, clean and non-polluting alternative energies. The energy sovereignty will not be achieved at the expense of food sovereignty or affect the right to water. [10] Furthermore, the Article 413 declares: The State shall promote energy efficiency development, and the use of environmentally clean technologies, practices and policies as well asrenewable, low-impact, and diversifiedenergy. This will be executed not jeopardizing food sovereignty, ecological balance of ecosystems and the water rights.[11]

In Article 414 the Constitution states that the State shall take appropriate measures for climate change mitigation by limiting emissions of greenhouse gases, deforestation and air pollution. The public administration will also take measures for the conservation of forests and vegetation, and protect the population at risk[12].In addition, the National Plan for Good Living in its Objective 4 guarantees the rights of nature, and promotes a healthy and sustainable environment. In its Policy 4.3 seeks to diversify the national energy efficiency and promoting greater participation of renewable energies.[13]

In April, 2011, the National Council of Electricity, for its acronym in Spanish CONELEC, issued the normative CONELEC- 004-11 in order to incentive the production of renewable energy in Ecuador. This normative considers a preferential price for energy produced from biomass sources. The prices to be paid by the government are 11.05 cUSD by KWh generated in the continent and 12.16 cUSD/kWh in Galapagos.[14]

Ecuador looks for changing its Energy Matrix, and these laws promote the generation of energy from renewable sources.

Specific legal frameworks for each biomass product are detailed further.

3.2. Ecuadorian Energy Sector

The primary energy production matrix in Ecuador has the following composition: Petroleum 90.5%, Natural gas 4.2%, Hydro energy 2.6%, firewood 1.7%, cogeneration derived from sugar cane 1.1%. Regarding the evolution of the matrix, it must be said that in 1970, 44% of matrix was based on the traditional use of biomass (charcoal and firewood, mainly), but, in 2010 only 2,8%. These numbers show a clear expansion and dependency of the country on fossil fuels. [15] Concerning energy consumption by sector in the country, transportation represents the most of the demand (49,9%). Then, industrial sector (17,5%), and residential sector (15,6%). [16] During the past four decades, the share of

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these sectors has changed. Thus, transport is the fastest growing sector rising from an average of 33% of the matrix during the 1970s, to 52% in the 2000s. The residential sector was the largest in the 70s (43% on average) decreased to 20% in the 2000s. The industry has remained almost constant participation of 16% in the 70s and 19% in 2000. [17] In Latin America, it should be noted that the use of biomass as energy source is low in countries with subsidies for fossil fuels such as Ecuador (2,8%) and virtually nonexistent in highly fuel subsided economies like Venezuelan, while in countries without fossil fuel subsidies, like Peru (16%), and Colombia (10%) bioenergy plays an important role. [18]

4. Bioenergy in Ecuador

4.1. Ethanol

The first attempts of developing the Ethanol Industry started in 2004 mainly related with international markets and private industrial initiatives. In that year, it was issued the Executive Decree No. 2332, creating the Biofuels Advisory Council. [19] This council intended the implementation of a fuel mixture composed of 10% ethanol anhydrous and 90% gasoline for the entire Ecuadorian car fleet. This plan sought to replace a percentage of imports of high octane naphtha. In order to implement this national program, it was projected an average production of 1 599 261 barrels of anhydrous ethanol per year, meaning 650 000 liters/day. [20] In order to satisfy these amounts it was projected to implement 50000 new hectares of sugar cane crops nationwide.[21] At first, it was decided the necessity of starting a pilot project before the national program which was supposed to be executed in Guayaquil city. Nevertheless, because of infrastructural problems and technological adjustments the plan did not started but in 2010. [22]

In 2007 by Executive Decree No 475, the Ministry of Energy and Mines was divided into the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MEER) and Nonrenewable Energy Ministry.[23] The competition of biofuels went to the National Direction of Biofuel ruled by MEER. In the same year, by Executive Decree No. 146 the Biofuels Advisory Council was replaced by the National Biofuels Board composed by many Ministries with MEER leading it. [24]

In 2008, via Executive Decree No 1495 the price of anhydrous alcohol was obligated to be fixed each month bythe average of the first five days of the previous month according to the international price of Platts Oil Gram Markertscand Gulf Coast of UNL 87. [25] In 2009 the National Hydrocarbon Direction (for its acronym in Spanish DNH) asked the certification to all the gasoline stations of Guayaquil to be ready for the project until May 2009, although the 100% of the stations was not reached mainly because of infrastructure and logistic problems. [26]

On the same year, by Decree No 1879, a Substitute Regulation to control the prices of hydrocarbon derivatives was released. The Decree states that freight costs of fuel grade anhydrous alcohol from industrial plants to PETROCOMERCIAL terminals will be borne by this entity. It also set a fixed price of U.S. $ 0.76 per liter of fuel

grade anhydrous ethanol at the plant during the lapse of the pilot plan in Guayaquil. This period was supposed to last no longer than two years. Furthermore, this price did not include value added tax, VAT. [27]

By Executive Decree No. 1831 of July 2009, all activities, plans, projects and other efforts undertaken by the National Biofuels Council were transferred to the Coordinator Ministry of Production, Competitiveness and Trade (for its acronym in Spanish MCPEC) [28].

MCPEC adopts the recommendation of the former Biofuels Advisory Council for starting the pilot project conducted in the city of Guayaquil with an amount of 5% of anhydrous ethanol in the final mixture considering raising it in medium-term until 10%.

In January 2010 it was launched Ecopaís program beginning the distribution of biofuel in Guayaquil city. In spite of having three main private alcohol industries in Ecuador, just one (SODERAL) provides the total amount of ethanol for the program. Since the beginning of the pilot project there have been produced: 2 500 000 liters in 2010, 3 500 000 liters in 2011, and 3 800 000 liters in 2012. In total, until the elaboration of this document, it had been produced 9 800 000 liters of anhydrous ethanol as biofuel in

Ecuador.[29]

It is expected by February 2013 that the 100% of the gasoline stations in Guayaquil will be included in the program. This will mean a demand of18 thousandsbbls/month. Furthermore, it is projected to rise the production up to 21 thousand BLS/month by adding gasoline stations of El Oro and Los Rios provinces.[30]

4.1.

Biodiesel

The total production of oil palm in Ecuador in 1993 was

152 537 MT. Since then the production has increased by

293% becoming 447 667.00 MT in 2009. The domestic consumption is about 210 000 MT, leaving about 235 667 MT of surplus which are exported. Until 2010, there exist

248 199 hectares of African Palm planted in Ecuador[31].

The unique experience of biodiesel commercialization has been made by LAFABRIL, which is an Ecuadorian company that ventures in vegetable oil derivatives. LAFABRIL counts from August 2005 with the international license EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to export biodiesel to USA.[32] Since October 2011 this industry produces 3 000 MT per month, which are sold to the U.S. biodiesel market. At the time of elaboration of this document, it meant 40 000 MT produced in total. Nowadays, the company is analyzing the possibilities of selling up to 5000 MT per month not only to USA but to Europe. [33]

Although in 2007 there was not a program related to the commercialization and distribution of biodiesel in the country, the Ecuadorian Standards Institute (for its acronyms in Spanish INEN) established the technical standard of normalization for biodiesel with code: NTE INEN 2482-09.[34] The purpose was to specify the requirements for selling biodiesel in the country. This standard was made in accordance with several ASTM

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standards like ASTM D 1298, D 93, D1796,D 95,D 445 ,D

from erosion,

increases fertility, and does not affect food

874,D 1552,D 4530,D 130,D 613,D 1160,D 6584.

security. [44]

The average international price of the Metric Ton of palm oil in 2012 is around 750 USD (FOB).[35] This fact can be translated into a barrier for the production of biodiesel to be used in the local market taking into account the subsidies giving to the fossil fuels nationwide.

Nevertheless, on September 17, 2012 it was published the Executive Decree No. 1303 whose article No 1 points that the development of biofuels in the country is declared national priority as a way to promote the agricultural sector. Besides, the production, usage and consumption of biofuels will be focused in an inclusive strategy of rural development taking precautions regarding food sovereignty and environmental sustainability.[36] Furthermore, Article No 2 states that premium diesel fuel used in the country must contain biodiesel from vegetal oil of national production.[37] Finally, article No 3 establishes a deadline of 8 months from the sign of this Decree (mid June 2013) for applying the distribution and commercialization of a 5% biodiesel mixture in premium diesel sold in the country.[38]

4.2. Other Biofuels

Some academic initiatives had been conducted from universities, research centers and private industries to investigate the potential of many plants such as sunflower, jatropha and used vegetable fats for producing biofuels.

[39]

In 2007, MEER started the project named "Local production of (Jatrophacurcas L. )oil from live fences for electricity production in the Galapagos islands." as part of the "Zero Fossil Fuel Initiative for Galapagos".[40] The project is the result of the feasibility study for replacing fossil fuels with biofuels for power generation on Floreana Island, hired in 2007 by the United Nations Program for Development, and carried out by the German Development Service, DED. The study recommended the use of pure vegetable oil derived from Jatropha as the best option for diesel replacement in the island. [41]

In 2010, there were installed two dual generators of 69 kW nominal power each on Floreana Island adapted to use vegetable oil as fuel. In the same year, the production of biofuel started with 2 560 gallons of Jatropha pure vegetable oil. One year later, 9 444 gallons were obtained. This meant an increase of 270% compared to the previous year. In 2012, it is estimated to produce 15 700 gallons of oil which will represent a 66% increase compared to 2011.

[42]

According to MEER, the average pure vegetable oil requirement of Floreana Island for electricity production is around gallons 10 197 gallons per year.

It must be said that this project is considered one of the few sustainable biofuel production initiates around the world because of its social and environmental implications.[43]According to the National Institute of Agricultural Research of Ecuador INIAP, the benefits of using Jatropha as raw material for energy production are:

the possibility of its own cultivation on the Ecuadorian coast (Manabí and Santa Elena provinces), protects the soil

4.3. Biomass Cogeneration

In Ecuador the main producers of Energy derived from biomass are the sugar mills which sell energy derived from combustion of sugar cane bagasse to the Ecuadorian interconnected system. The installed capacity of electricity generation of these industries is showed in the following table: [45]

Sugarmillcompany

Installed Capacity

North Sugar Refinery C.M.S.

3MW

Agricultural and Industrial Society San Carlos S.A.

35 MW

Valdez Sugar Company S.A. (Ecoelectric S.A.)

36,5 MW

La Troncal mill S.A. (Ecudos S.A.)

29,8 MW.

Table 1.Installed Capacity of Sugar mills companies in Ecuador

According to CONELEC the annual production of electricity nationwide from biomass (sugar cane bagasse) using thermal processes is show on table 2. [46]

Year

(GWh)

2004

3,24

2005

102,86

2006

145,56

2007

218,75

2008

208,32

2009

216,52

2010

235,56

2011

278,20

2012*

267,68

Table2.Annual production of electricity nationwide from biomass sources

(*)Datum until July 2012

The co-generation of electricity using sugarcane bagasse is increasing. Until July 2012, there have been produced a total of 1676,69GWh derived from the said form. [47]

Moreover, regarding investigation in the private sector the company ECOELECTRIC S.A. has investigated the potential of several biomasses: sugar cane stalks, palm shell, rice husk, wood chips, coffee, bagasse, bamboo cane, water hyacinth, sorghum, coconut. [48]

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In 2007, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy MEER conducted a study showing the feasibility for cogeneration using rice husk in the coastal region of Ecuador. The results of this study are shown on table 3.[49]

       

Nominal

Rice Husk

MWh /

Net

Power

Zone

kg/ year

year

PowerkWh

kWh

Daule

27349600,00

15471,00

2387,00

2400,00

Babahoyo

17818100,00

10079,00

1555,00

1600,00

Samborondón

11942700,00

6756,00

1043,00

1000,00

Vinces

6513600,00

3685,00

569,00

600,00

TOTAL

63624000,00

35991,00

5554,00

5600,00

Table 3.Potential of energy generation from rice husk in Ecuador

4.4. Landfill Gas

Few experiences of energy recovery using landfill gas have been developed in Ecuador. The most significant is located in Cuenca city in the landfill of Pichacay. In 2007, the Eastern Research Group, Inc. and Carbon Trade Ltd, conducted the feasibility study for the Municipal Public Company of Waste Management of Cuenca -EMAC EP. The results of this study showed that by the year 2025 it is estimated that the volume of methane produced by the landfill will be up to 1132 m3/hr (50% of CH4). The estimated capacity of electricity generation is from 13961 MWh to 14996 MWh by 2015 and 2025 respectively.[50]

In 2011 the production of land fill gas started in Ambato city on Chachoan landfill. Since then about 0.058 m3/second of methane gas are produced, generating 12kW. [51] Furthermore, in Quito city the landfill El Inga burns methane as a way to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. The program started on January 8, 2011 and has a validity lapse until January 7, 2018. In this program burning methane does not generate electricity. However, this translates into CDM credits, a total of 200000 certificates of Clean Developments Mechanisms are planned to be sold (One certificate per ton). [52]

Biogas

The estimated total national agricultural waste is 6'904 541 MT/year.[53] However, in the country there is no culture of using waste to produce energy. Most agricultural and livestock, wastes are thrown into the trash, streams, rivers or burned.

Few experiences have been developed in order to promote biogas production. One of these was the feasibility project of the use of agricultural, agro industrial and livestockwastes for energy production by biodigestion conducted by MEER. This project sought to determine the potential of biomass in the country, assuring a continuous source of energy in an industrial scale, and also to determine the viability of using biogas generated as fuel to produce heat or electricity.[54]

Furthermore, in 2007, MEER made a study on a normative to supply electricity produced from biogas to the National Interconnected System and /or electricity distributors. Another effort focused on to demonstrate the benefits of biodigestion was the implementation of a pilot unit settled in the Botanical Garden of Quito in 2010.

Waste to Energy (Thermal)

Regarding the management of municipal solid waste, the inherent entities solely focus on the implementation of landfills. Moreover, in the country there is not a legal framework which promotes the exploitation of solid wastes. However, in 2009, MEER carried out a feasibility study of municipal solid waste utilization for Imbabura province for electric power generation. This study projects the potential usage of plastic garbage and other wastes to obtain electricity, diesel and other byproducts.

As one exclusive case it must be said that the construction of a thermal waste recovery plant in Chone Canton started in October, 2012. The project plans to use Chone solid municipal waste to generate energy. It will be located in the current municipal open waste dump and has a validity lapse of 50 years. The project is planned to be implemented in the first months of 2013.[55]

4.6. Firewood

The use of firewood in Ecuador is detailed in Figure 4.6.1.[56] The total use of wood nationwide is 8 448 802 m 3 /year. Firewood, coal, and wood wastes represent the 66.8%. Besides, industrial use which represents a 5.3%. Crafts and small industry correspond to 14.2%. Construction and other uses signify the 13.7%.[57] Based on available data it was estimated that each year 2 GW are consumed as energy derived from firewood in Ecuador.

GW are consumed as energy derived from firewood in Ecuador. Figure 1: Biomass for energy production

Figure 1: Biomass for energy production by province in Ecuador. (Number of households)

It must be said that firewood combustion is linked to air pollution which is considered an important source of public health hazard because of the emission of harmful pollutants related to increased risk of respiratory tract infections and lung cancer.[58] In the country, no projects have been developed seeking to diminish the usage of firewood as energy source. On the other hand, emissions from biomass burning are a major global source of particulate matter and gaseous pollutants to the atmosphere. Combustion of

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biomass could be responsible for approximately 45% of the total emission of black carbon (BC) to the atmosphere, which is highly effective in absorbing solar radiation [59]. Regarding wood used for domestic energy production in Ecuador studies show that 2m 3 of wood are consumed per person each year. [60], Currently, only 1.7% of primary energy comes from firewood compared to 48% in 1970 and 20% in 1984. [61]

from firewood compared to 48% in 1970 and 20% in 1984. [61] Image 1. Consumption by

Image 1.Consumption by Householderof firewood per canton in Ecuador.

5. Conclusions

Bioenergy in Ecuador represents the 2.8% of the primary energy matrix and is obtained mainly from sugar cane bagasse electric cogeneration. However, other forms of bioenergy have not been developed properly mainly because of energy subsides. Regarding biofuels, only specific pilot projects have been conducted. It is expected that the policy given by Executive Decree No. 1303, will generate a growth in the sector mostly for biodiesel. Respecting waste to energy, main constraints are related to the lack of policies promoting the exploitation of wastes. Only punctual projects have been carried out primarily driven by the commercialization of carbon credits. The electricity cogeneration in Ecuador based on biomass has been developed by the private industry mainly sugar cane mills. It is expected a growth of this sector because of the feed in tariffs emitted by CONELEC. Finally, energy derived from firewood accounts with 1.7% of the primary energy matrix. 259216 families still use biomass as their main energy source. This fact should be analyzed by the government, and several attempts to reduce the risks associated with the activity must be promoted.

6. Acknowlegments

Authors greatly acknowledge to Patricia Recalde, Director of Biomass and Cogeneration of MEER, Enrique Heinemann from GIZ German Cooperation agency, CONELEC, ECOELECTRIC, and Municipality of Cuenca city.

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