We recognize the importance of protecting the environment and are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. In 2003, our team in Brazil began using biogas created out of our own brewing process in many of its breweries in an effort to decrease our emissions.
Collected with a special mechanism, biogas from our brewing process is used to fuel our boilers, effectively replacing natural gas. It can also be used to generate electric and thermal energy. Replacing natural gas with biogas has had two main benefits for us: reducing the amount of CO2 released directly into the environment and cutting our fossil fuel usage, which also reduces CO2 emissions.
Besides biogas, biomass represents another effective and clean fuel for Ambev and also help to clean byproduct from the environment. Our team in Brazil has committed to ensuring that 40% of our energy comes from biomass by the end of 2017. Already, today, biomass-derived energy represents 37% of our energy, an 8% increase over the last three years.
In practice, this means that more than fifteen of our breweries and plants in Brazil use biomass as an energy source, and our plants in Ponta Grossa and Uberlândia actually use biomass to fuel 100% of their heat needs. Additionally, the steam used in our plants in Agudos and Juatuba is fully generated by burning biomass.
Following our success in Brazil, we have expanded our biomass use to the Dominican Republic, where 27% of our gas use has been replaced.