Brazil’s ceramics sector hums along on organic waste | Global Ideas | DW | 12.03.2013
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Global Ideas

Brazil’s ceramics sector hums along on organic waste

The production of ceramic tiles and bricks in Brazil’s northeast has had a devastating impact on the forests in the region. But now, wood and fossil fuels are being replaced by sustainable biomass.

Project goal: Climate-friendly ceramic production

Project type: Transition to biomass (eucalyptus and bamboo plants cultivated sustainably, wood chips, coconut shells)

Project volume: Initial investment between 100,000 – 150,000 euros ($130,000 – $195,000)

CO2 savings: 440,000 tons of CO2 saved over the project’s duration (10 years)

 Northeastern Brazil is a region known for its thriving ceramic industry. And until recently, ceramic facilities in the town of Capela relied heavily on either crude oil to fuel their furnaces or wood from the nearby Caatinga scrubland, a natural landscape that surrounds Capela. The arid territory with its unique flora and fauna was threatened with extinction. But that’s no longer the case ever since the ceramic industry changed course. Now, producers have started procuring woodchips and other waste from local sawmills as well as coconut shells to generate energy. The waste heat from the furnaces is also used to dry the ceramics and the ash is composted, allowing the companies to produce ceramic in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.

 A film by Miltiades Arsenopoulos

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