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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Spotlight on Energy | Cetrel Waste not, want not - Brazil's advances in innovation

Waste not, want not -
Brazil's advances in innovation


Cetrel supplied image
Brazilian firm, Cetrel, is a complete company for environmental solutions for the country’s industrial sector. It acts in the treatment and adequate final disposal of effluents and industrial residues as well as environmental monitoring in surrounding areas of industrial complexes.

In addition to its traditional business, the company invests in diversified projects, by developing technologies capable of acting both in productive processes and in the reutilisation of by-products and residues that would transform into environmental waste.

It is estimated green technologies or the cleantech industry (including renewable energy, waste management and water treatment) will be worth US$700 billion globally by the end of 2010. This sector reduces the environmental impact of business, through new technologies and improved efficiency, while dealing with the rising cost of unsustainable practices.

Cetrel invests the equivalent of 7% of its revenue yearly in research and innovation. This goes into programmes in partnership with several universities worldwide which focus on generating better solutions, and adding value and competitiveness for its customers.

Its research lines in technological innovation centre around the recovery of industrial residues (to generate new products and energy) and the treatment of effluents. The company is currently building a new technological centre, which will be the only R&D centre in Brazil exclusively for new product development and environmental testing for generating clean energy, the enrichment, recovery or addition of industrial residues as part of raw materials, and the reuse of water.

Outstanding research projects

Biocomposites: Focused on the reutilisation of industrial residues as a raw material, this project consists of the formulation of new products using a matrix PVC, polyethylene and polypropylene reinforced with natural fibres such as coconut, sugarcane bagasse, sisal and ashes. This is performed by Cetrel’s residue incineration process – among other industrial residues deposited in industrial landfills owned by the company. The work is carried out in collaboration with Brazilian and foreign companies, and links up to further prototype tests, new technologies and products on this subject.

Bioenergy: Focusing on adding value to sub-products of the sugar/alcohol industry for a more efficient electric power, the company has two lines of research using anaerobic digestion process with liquid residues (vinasse) from the production of ethanol and solid residues (sugarcane bagasse and straw) that act as substrates to produce biogas and clean electric power.

Studies have been developed in laboratorial, pilot and semi-industrial scale with a team of researchers, universities, advisers, companies and partners. Last year, Cetrel paired up with the Danish company Novozymes, world leader of industrial enzymes production, matching its experience in the treatment of liquid and solid residues with Novozyme’s knowledge in biotechnology to optimise the biodigestion of bagasse and straw with enzymes.

Water reutilisation: Cetrel has projects in water reutilisation in industrial complexes, aiming to find integrated and highly eco-efficient solutions for the abstraction, treatment and distribution of water.

For the assessment of the most feasible solutions, Cetrel has a centre of pilot units specialising in biological, physical and chemical treatment. The tests that are performed guarantee the success of the technology and reward the customer with a sound, feasible solution that takes into account the specificity of the productive process, avoiding surprises in the implementation. As a result, the client will have a unique project adapted to its current situation, with the guarantee of delivering water in the desired amount and quality.

This company is systemic in its approach and takes a wider view, from the production stage through to post-consumption, with the objective of maximising the benefits, making the processes cleaner, with less generation of residues. As a result, Cetrel is able to underline its commitment to mankind, nature and the future.

Cetrel logo

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