Urban waste for biomethane grid injection and transport in urban areas

Municipality of Abrantes

Abrantes is a Portuguese city in the District of Santarém, in the sub-region of Médio Tejo. The area of Abrantes is 714 km2 and includes 39,325 inhabitants (2011), subdivided into 19 parishes. The population density is 56 inhabitants per km². In its regional context, Abrantes is one of the largest cities in the region, and thus a strategic position regarding the waste management including its treatment.
Under UrbanBiogas, Abrantes represents a region with 15 municipalities. The waste management responsibility relies on each municipality being each one included in an integrated management system. In the region represented by Abrantes there are three waste management companies that cover different municipalities of the region:

  • Resitejo: Tomar, Ferreira do Zêzere, Constância, Vila Nova da Barquinha, Torres Novas, Alcanena e Entroncamento;
  • Valnor: Abrantes, Mação, Oleiros, Proença-a-Nova, Sardoal, Sertã e Vila de Rei
  • Valorlis: Ourém

Resitejo is responsible for the treatment of 93,354 t of urban solid waste per year and serves a population of 209,587 inhabitants. Resitejo has the following infrastructures: landfill site, sorting centre, three transfer units, four transfer centres, eight eco-centres, 1,272 eco-points, 298 glass containers, and 49 used cooking oil containers. Resitejo also collects source separated cardboard, plastic, metal and used batteries.
Valnor has an integrated system of waste treatment in the region being currently responsible for sorting, valuing and treating solid waste. Valnor serves 25 municipalities and covers the following responsibilities:

  • Energetic enhancement of the obtained biogas that makes possible the energy production with a power connection of 1075 kVA;
  • Fuel derived from waste, used as substitute of fossil fuels;
  • Used cooking oil gathering and biodiesel transformation for fleet use;
  • Gathering of used tires and its valorisation;
  • Selective gathering, trough eco-points and eco-centres or door-to-door methods;
  • Composting, through the organic valorisation plant that uses a mechanic and biological treatment of the urban solid waste resulting in compound for use in agriculture and forestry;
  • Gathering and treatment of waste from construction and demolition;
  • Gathering and treatment of waste from electric and electric equipment;
  • Gathering and treatment of urban solid waste;
  • Gathering and treatment of biodegradable urban waste;
  • Gathering and treatment of different sorts of waste such as furniture, sofas and others.

The unit of anaerobic digestion in Valnor produces around 2,750 GWh/year. This installation allows the treatment of 25,000 t/year of organic matter.
Valorlis is responsible for the selective gathering, sorting, and waste valorisation of solid urban waste in municipalities with in total 317 thousand inhabitants. Valorlis manages the following systems:

  • Sorting station;
  • Landfill;
  • Transfer stations;
  • Eco-centres;
  • Organic valorisation plant.

In the Waste-to-Biomethane (WtB) concept developed in the UrbanBiogas project for the region of Abrantes, three scenarios were analysed:
Scenario 1 “User-Pays” principle: Among the basic principles of environmental policy, it includes the "principle of responsibility". Thus, the consumer (polluter) is forbidden to pollute. The consumer should pay the costs of waste disposal and if he does not, he has the responsibility of paying the “social” cost of a pollutant action (through fines, damages, etc.).
Scenario 2 “Waste separation incentives”: In order to prevent waste production, it is important to raise awareness and involvement of all stakeholders by promotional activities that contribute to waste production prevention. Monetary incentives can be considered to support promotional actions for source-separation of waste.
Scenario 3 “Technical development of transfer stations”: Waste recovery is currently a popular subject. Most companies that are dealing with waste management do their best to develop their business according to the state of the art technologies. In this scenario it is important that companies invest in best technologies in order to maximize the efficiency of the process.
After careful analysis of the three presented scenarios, the third scenario was considered the most feasible scenario. Therefore, it is proposed that until 2020, a promotion is made on the development of the transfer units.

Parts of this model was already implemented by the three waste management companies in the region that have accomplished the following activities during the UrbanBiogas project timeframe:

  • Resitejo inaugurated a biogas production unit in 2013;
  • Valorlis has enlarged its collection of landfill gas in 2014;
  • Valnor started to operate a biogas production unit in 2011. Furthermore, a biogas plant in Concavada (Abrantes) started operation in 2013, including the mechanical-biological treatment and anaerobic digestion facilities. The produced electrical energy is 2,750 GWh/year.

Currently, the biogas produced from the anaerobic digestion units of Resitejo and Valnor is used for the production of electric energy, only.
Valnor predicts for 2016 an increase of the biogas production capacity which will result in 80% more capacity than the currently installed capacity and therefore alternatives for the use of biogas are being analysed. One option that was proposed in the UrbanBiogas project is to upgrade biogas to biomethane and to use it transport.
UrbanBiogas brought the needed investments for the biomethane upgrading facility into the long term financial planning of the region, namely under the Covenant of Mayors and the 2014-2020 framework of programme funds. The regional sustainable energy action plan of Médio Tejo now includes a budget of 29,162,720 € for biomethane.
This investment option in Médio Tejo was, resulting from UrbanBiogas activities, included in the Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAP) of the Covenant of Mayors under the scope of the 2014-2020 measures. This plan foresees several investments in the field of sustainable energy provision, as shown in Table 20. The plan is executed together with the next structural funding programme, specifically the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) application to the NUTIII Médio Tejo region. The region’s municipal community is the relevant managing authority.
As part of the regional SEAP, waste-to-biomethane measures resulting from the UrbanBiogas action, cover around 10% of the planned investment and 7.28% of the CO2 target.

Reports about Abrantes

  • Biogas & Biomethane Production: Grid Injection & Transport in Abrantes/Portugal EN
  • Results of the survey on waste management and waste separation in Abrantes EN
  • Municipal waste management in Abrantes/Portugal EN
  • Economic Feasibility of WtB Concepts for Valmiera, Zagreb and Graz EN
  • Summary of UrbanBiogas national expert consultation meetings on biomethane use in Portugal EN
  • Competition event in Abrantes/Portugal EN
  • Summary report on promotion of sustainable waste management in Abrantes EN


Municipality of Abrantes

Contact: Mónica Martins
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Phone: +351 241 330 330
Website: www.cm-abrantes.pt


Contact: Marcos António Nogueira
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Phone: +351 210 937 907
Website: www.irradiare.com

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