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Reservoir at Paragominas, Brazil

Hydro and university will study floating solar power in Brazil

Hydro will invest around BRL 1 million (€156,000) in research with the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) on floating solar panels at the Paragominas bauxite mine.

The two-year project, which will begin in the first half of 2022, has the potential to generate sustainable energy and increase water re-use. If successful, it could also be used in other mining processes in the country.

The tests on a floating photovoltaic system in the mine’s water reservoir could offer a new source of energy as part of the mine's own consumption and reduce evaporation so more water could be used for other purposes.

The floating photovoltaic system can produce more energy than conventional ones by keeping the plate temperatures lower.

A technical team works with a weather and solar radiation monitoring station.
A technical team works with a weather and solar radiation monitoring station.

In the testing phase, project will assess an area of ​​160 square meters. If the research proves the efficiency of the concept, Paragominas can expand the covered area in the future, generating more energy proportionally.

“This research is in line with Hydro's goal of being increasingly sustainable. If the results are positive, we can save even more water in our processes and provide a renewable energy alternative for our operations. It is a benefit for the company and for the conservation of the environment. We are committed to always innovating in search of more sustainable production processes and UFPA has been an important partner in this objective,” says Evilmar Fonseca, industrial director of Hydro Paragominas.

Wilson Negrão Macêdo, the research coordinator with UFPA, adds: "The opportunity to preserve a fundamental natural resource for its industrial processes, which is water, through a renewable generation system, which is solar photovoltaic technology, places Hydro in a prominent position in the scenario of sustainable and economically viable.”

For the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at UFPA, Iracilda Sampaio, “sustainability is a highly demanded concept in the modern world and the production of renewable energy, energy that does not pollute the environment, is a desire of the entire society. UFPA has competent research teams on its staff in the field of sustainable energy and this partnership between UFPA and Hydro, using solar panels for energy production, is very opportune at the moment. We live in a region rich in sun and water, and we have all the conditions to advance in this area of ​​research, in an important university-company partnership. Our expectations are very high as to the success of this project.”

Illustration of floating solar panels
Illustration of floating solar panels at the bauxite mine in Paragominas, Brazil.

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