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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Spotlight on Energy | Estre Ambiental SA Don't forget the power in residuals

Don't forget the power in residuals

Estre Ambiental SA

Instituto Estre in the community
Instituto Estre in the community

Residues produced by humankind can be transformed into raw materials for industrial processes and fuel for energy, thus reducing consumption natural resources and fossil fuel use.

Since its creation in 1999, the Brazilian residue management company, Estre Ambiental, has become increasingly important in its industry for developing and applying technologies to treat and dispose of residues, providing solutions, and reducing environmental impact. As the owner of twelve landfill sites in Brazil, one in Argentina and one in Colombia, this is the largest company in the sector in Latin America.

The company transforms hydrocarbon-contaminated residues into alternative fuels used in the kilns of cement manufacturers in the states of São Paulo and Paraná, where Estre already has processing plants. While this initiative reduces the cement industry’s use of coal and boosts operations’ sustainability by completely eliminating residues. The fact that this process was started before the Kyoto Protocol was agreed prevents it from earning carbon credits.

In its landfills, Estre has systems designed to capture and burn biogas (methane or CH4), which is 21 times more harmful to the ozone layer than carbon dioxide (CO2). The company’s five projects resulted in the sale of more than 4,000,000 Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) to international investment funds. According to the UN, the Paulínia biogas capture system is the world’s most efficient for burning CH4.

In 2009, Estre celebrated its first ten years of business by pledging to take on new challenges. It is now realigning its goals and moving up a gear to meet the needs of a society increasingly aware of, and concerned with, environmental issues.

Paulínia landfill
Paulínia landfill

Current goals focus on the generation of energy obtained from biogas produced at landfills and the transformation of residues into raw material to produce alternative fuels, using the same advanced technology the EU employs.
The company petitioned the UN to have its five biogas-burning projects included in the Kyoto Protocol for energy generation and expects them to be approved in 2011. However, its most important project is transforming urban and industrial residues into raw materials for the production of alternative fuels.

An Estre plant designed to process 1,000 metric tonnes of residues per day started operations in November 2010. Both technology and equipment were acquired from Finland-based BMH Enviro, which has implemented similar projects in Finland, England, Austria, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands. Estre’s total investment in this exceeds US$25 million.

Managing mindsets

Estre Ambiental is also changing the mindset of future generations through its Instituto Estre de Responsabilidade Socioambiental in Brazil. The company set up this public-interest organisation to disseminate knowledge and encourage social and environmental practices. Its goal is to foster a change of mindset using education and replicable models of selective trash collection and recycling of residues to improve present quality of life and preserve the environment for future generations.

The work of Instituto Estre rests on three pillars:

  • environmental education;
  • selective garbage collection; and,
  • urban tree planting.

The company also supports the initiatives of non-profit organisations in the cities where it is based. One example is Cooperlínia Ambiental do Brasil, based in Paulínia, the only residue-sorting cooperative certified under ISO 14000. The cooperatives facilities were built by Estre and donated to Paulínia’s residue collectors. Estre provides permanent support to Cooperlínia, by subsidising its utilities and maintaining its facilities.

Additionally, Cooperlínia acts as a study model for Instituto Estre in the development of activities designed to bridge social gaps and encourage selective garbage collection initiatives. Cooperlínia’s more than 40 cooperative members and trainees at the Hortolândia Correctional Facility prepare nearly 2,000 metric tonnes of solid residues for recycling every year.

The Estre companies provide safe and efficient services in the pursuit of innovative and technological solutions, including:
  • consulting;
  • final disposal of residues;
  • restoration of contaminated areas;
  • recycling of construction industry residues;
  • energy generation from residues;
  • reverse manufacturing;
  • drilling and recovery of oil wells; and,
  • construction of pipes for hydrocarbon transportation industries.

Estre Ambiental S/A logo

Estre Ambiental S/A

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