The year 2022 is coming to an end with a positive balance in the partnership between Hydro and the Federal University of Pará (UFPA). On the last 13th and 14th, representatives of the company and the university held the first follow-up workshop on the projects under the agreement between the two institutions. The event, held in the auditorium of the Parque Tecnológico do Guamá, brought together representatives and researchers from the two institutions involved. In all, 15 projects were presented by coordinators, teachers and students who took stock of the last two years and showed how advanced they are.
“This agreement is the result of a lot of dedication and hard work by everyone involved. It is high-level research that contributes to industry, society and academia. For Hydro, the diversity of knowledge that UFPA has is fundamental for us to develop our industry through innovation”, says Marcelo Montini, senior chemical consultant at Hydro and coordinator of the agreement.
The projects presented are in line with Hydro's sustainability goals related to climate, biodiversity, training people, health and residue reuse. “UFPA is a fundamental partner for us to achieve these goals”, completes Montini.
“The relationship with Hydro has been very fruitful, as it very objectively presents the possibility of a public/private relationship in favor of knowledge and development of the Amazon. At UFPA, we have a structure for producing knowledge about the reality of our region, which can be very valuable for production processes in the state. Our expectation is that the partnership will be strengthened and that our knowledge can be appropriated and converted into sustainable development with direct benefits for the region and its population”, said the vice-rector of UFPA, Gilmar Pereira da Silva.
“By enabling the strengthening of education, science, technology and innovation produced by UFPA, the UFPA-Hydro partnership significantly contributes to the development of our region”, evaluates Maria Amélia Enriquéz, from the Directorate of International Agreements and Strategic Affairs of Pró -Rectorate of International Relations (Prointer/ UFPA). “This is a partnership that has been consolidating itself through various research projects, infrastructure support, offering internships, distribution of tablets during the pandemic and now, more recently, the formation of the first Specialization Group in Geotechnical Engineering. Initiatives like this one allow us to maximize opportunities by offering resources to finance these researches, exchanging experiences, exchanging professors and students, generating innovations and mutual benefits”, evaluates the director.
The signing of the agreement in 2019 allowed putting into practice several projects that were already being discussed between UFPA and Hydro. The success of the first workshop already advanced the possibility of another meeting, now with a second project approval cycle, still in the first quarter of 2023.
“We are always investing in innovation and research, so this work does not end now. On the contrary, in our first workshop, professors and researchers already found several possibilities to cross their projects to create others. It was a very rich meeting and one that will help us to innovate even more”, says Silene Vendrasco, Senior Manager of Management System at Hydro.
About the agreement
In 2020, Hydro announced two studies that are already at an advanced stage of development, the production of cement and synthetic aggregate, both with waste from bauxite refining, which is generated at Alunorte. In 2021, another survey was announced, which will study the feasibility of using ore tailings from Hydro's bauxite mine, in Paragominas (PA), for the production of tiles, bricks, refractory materials, low-carbon cement and even a biodegradable plastic.
Also in 2021, a survey was announced on the use of solar panels in its bauxite mine in Paragominas (PA). The university will carry out tests with a floating photovoltaic system in the water reservoir of Mineração Paragominas. On another front, Hydro and UFPA are carrying out meteorological studies at the bauxite mine, which will improve the management of the unit's water resources.
There are also three other innovation projects in the fight against Covid-19 that are underway: production of low-cost respirators, studies of psychological effects during the pandemic and use of data science to create epidemiological models. As part of the agreement, Hydro and Albras also donated equipment to support remote teaching during the pandemic. In total, there were 104 refurbished computers and 1,340 tablets, 890 of which in 2021 and 450 this year.
Another initiative being carried out is the study of the use of açaí seeds as biomass. The açaí residue will be mixed with mineral coal to be used as fuel in Alunorte's boilers. Renewable energy with a wide supply in Pará, the açaí seed as biomass is being researched in partnership with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Federal University of Pará (UFPA).
Investment in Research & Development to innovate its operations is part of Hydro's sustainability strategy. All projects are part of the technical and scientific cooperation agreement between Hydro and the University, started in 2019, to carry out several lines of research, which make it possible to consolidate the development of the State of Pará.