InterCement research uses microalgae to reduce CO2 emissions

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 18:02
InterCement will invest R$ 5.6 million in research with microalgae in the next four years InterCement will invest R$ 5.6 million in research with microalgae in the next four years

InterCement, holding of the cement business of Camargo Corrêa Group, is financing research for reduction of CO2 emissions in the national cement industry with three research centers from federal universities and USP (University of São Paulo). In all, R$ 5.6 million will be invested in the next four years.

The first agreement will be celebrated with UFSCar (Federal University of São Carlos) and UFSM (Federal University of Santa Maria). Researchers will study the system of biofixation of CO2 through the cultivation of cyanobacteria and microalgae, capable of retaining CO2 in their photosynthesis process. The expectation is that biofixation has the potential to neutralize 30% of emissions.

A second agreement is being conducted with ESALQ (Higher Agriculture School of Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, from USP) and UFC (Federal University of Ceará). The purpose of the agreement is to use biomass from the algae in aquaculture and to feed fish and shrimp. For that, InterCement took into account the growing demand for food in the production chain and studies that point to higher added value in the operation.

The partnership with USP contemplates investments of R$ 5 million for the installation of a sustainable construction research center at the Polytechnic School (Poli-USP). The first piece of research of the new center will be in the eco-efficient concrete field.

"InterCement believes that the continuity of business depends not only on economic performance, but rather on responsible operation in the social and environmental aspects. Partnerships with research centers are key to identify innovative techniques that can be applied with efficiency and safety on the production chain", says Adriano Nunes, director for Sustainability and Innovation.

Commitment to sustainability

The investment in research on biofixation of CO2 is part of the sustainability efforts developed by InterCement. The company is a reference in the control of emissions in the cement sector and has one of the best worldwide rates of greenhouse gas emissions per ton produced. InterCement’s greenhouse gas inventory won, in 2012, the Gold Seal of the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program.

In addition to new research, two techniques already adopted by InterCement seek to reduce emissions by replacing fuels. This is the case of co-processing, which can be done with unserviceable tires or other products, and the replacement of clinker.