Hydro Alunorte is investing in improvements to its network of meteorological stations in a new research project in partnership with the Federal University of Pará (UFPA). Over three years, the research aims to develop scientific/technological-based products for the generation of short (24 to 48 hours), medium (weekly) and long-term (quarterly) regional weather forecast bulletins for the areas operations of the alumina refinery, located in Barcarena (PA). In addition, the project, which has an investment of approximately BRL 200,000, will receive support from the university in improving the network of meteorological stations and in preparing climate studies, seminars and periodic technical meetings with the Hydro Alunorte teams. This study is being carried out in parallel with another meteorological research, in progress at Hydro Paragominas, the company's bauxite mine.
The refinery has been constantly investing in improvements in the sector, in line with Hydro's global sustainability goal. In 2021, the unit's four new weather stations began operating. The data from the new stations allow greater control and management of rainfall in the refinery. With real-time information, it is possible to measure several factors that influence the treatment of rainwater and effluents. The stations also make it possible to know the speed and direction of the wind, helping in operational activities in the area of Solid Residue Deposits (DRS).
Possible contribution to the municipality of Barcarena
Currently, Barcarena has only one rain gauge, but no weather stations. The ones that exist in the municipality are located at Hydro Alunorte and one in Porto de Vila do Conde. There is a possibility that in the future the data from the stations that belong to Hydro will be made available to the public, contributing to the weather forecast at the location, providing the opportunity for society to develop scientific research and academic studies through meteorological data, cooperating to increase the number of stations. in the Amazon region, which is still low.
The importance of monitoring the information these stations collect daily is to be able to meet the growing demand for observational data to improve the quality of weather forecasting, climate research and water resources.
About the Hydro and UFPA research agreement
Hydro has already announced seven research projects with UFPA, in the areas of residue and tailings use, meteorology and solar energy production. Investment in research is part of Hydro's sustainability strategy. In 2020, the company announced two research projects that are already underway, namely the production of cement and synthetic aggregate, both with residue from the refining of bauxite, which is generated at Alunorte. In 2021, another research was announced, which will study the feasibility of using the 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. A research was also announced on the use of solar panels at its bauxite mine in Paragominas (PA). The university will carry out tests with a floating photovoltaic system in the water reservoir of Mineração Paragominas. Hydro and UFPA are also carrying out meteorological studies at the bauxite mine, which will improve the management of the unit's water resources. The company and the university are studying the feasibility of using açaí stone as a source of renewable energy in Alunorte's boilers. An environmental background research is also being carried out in the municipalities of Barcarena and Abaetetuba. 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, the company also donated 890 tablets to support remote teaching during the pandemic.
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.