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Market News

 September 25, 2006
Brazil: Environmental Markets

 Brazil is one of the world's largest developing countries and its environmental industry is the largest in Latin America. Estimates on the value of the market for environmental products and services in Brazil vary significantly: the 2004 market value was estimated at $2.5 billion by the U.S. Department of Commerce and $6.4 billion by Frost & Sullivan and is expected to increase to between $2.9 billion and $6.9 billion in 2005.

The following are brief summaries of recent or upcoming investments in environmental technologies and services made by Brazilian organizations or industries:

Environmental Recovery Program in the Santos Region

The state owned water utility of Sao Paulo, SABESP, and the Japan Bank for international Cooperation will invest R$1.2 billion (approximately CAD $600 million) in environmental recovery activities in the Santos metropolitan region. The program will concentrate on integrated solutions for basic sanitation and environmental issues and will benefit a population of roughly 3 million people within the municipalities of Santos, São Vicente, Cubatão, Praia Grande, Mongaguá, Itanhaem, Peruibe, Bertioga and Guarujá.

The main objective of the program is to expand sewage collection and treatment throughout the above-mentioned municipalities. Expectations are that the sewage treatment percentage in each of these municipalities will increase from the current average of 36% to an estimated 95%. The program foresees simultaneous construction in nine municipalities, creating 4,000 direct jobs per month, and will contribute to the clean up of streets, rivers and beaches.

According to SABESP, the works will be initiated in 2006 and will include 1,100 kilometers of sewage collection nets, trunk lines, interceptors, outfall sewers, 125,000 residential connections, 85 sewage-pumping stations, 7 sewage treatment plants and one outfall sewer.

On August 10, 2006, SABESP published a bill inviting pre-qualified companies to present their commercial proposals for the Program. Interested firms can find out more here (PDF).

Steel Industry Investments In Environmental Technologies

According to the Brazilian Steel Institute, Companhia Siderurgica de Tubarao (CST), part of the Arcelor Group, South America's second largest steel manufacturer group, has received authorization from the Espirito Santo State Environment and Water Resource Institute (Iema/Seama), to begin operation of a Water Treatment Plant for Reuse and the Secondary Dust Removal System in their steel plant. Such an investment should be of interest of Canadian environmental equipment and service companies.

The treatment station for water reuse consists of a dam, water intake and treatment equipment for up to 720 cubic meters of water per hour, which will be taken from the effluent channel at CST main-avenue. This will be the first water plant in the Espirito Santo state to recover and treat residential sewage and industrial effluent, avoiding an impact in the volume of water purchased from the state water utility -- Cesan.

The secondary dust removal system in the steel plant, will have a very large baghouse filter, with capacity to capture up to 1.55 million cubic meters / hour of dust generated in the steel refining process, contributing to the reduction of particulate material emission at the plant.

According to CST, the authorizations were provided after the environmental agency conducted a technical inspection to verify CST compliance with the environmental authority requirements. By the end of the construction, which is aimed at increasing current steel production to 7.5 million metric tons per year, the environmental agency will issue one license to all units of CST.

Fluorine Emissions in the Ceramic Floor Industry

In July 2003, CETESB, the Sao Paulo state environmental authority, issued a regulation imposing emission parameters for the ceramic floor industries in the state. Three years after the regulation, CETESB is receiving financing requests from ceramic manufacturers, which are taking the first steps to comply with the environmental requirements. This report summarizes the air pollution case in the state of Sao Paulo. It may be of interest to air pollution control equipment and service firms.

The Santa Gertrudes and Cordeiropolis municipalities in Sao Paulo have become Brazil's most important red clay ceramic floor producing regions in Brazil. The region produces 256,000,000 square meters of ceramic floor per month, generating 200,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The ceramic industry is affecting the region's environment, as related fluoride emissions are harmful to vegetation. As a result actions taken by local farmers and the State's Public Attorney, CETESB performed a number of studies and samplings to characterize the problem. Samplings from chimneys confirmed that the fluoride emissions resulted from clay burning and represented volumes of roughly 12 to 110 mg F/Nm3 (fluoride milligrams per Normal cubic meter) at 18% oxygen, at an average of 60 mg F/Nm3, resulting in an average emission of 2,000 mg F/1000 square meter of floor produced.

After the identification and technical characterization of the problem, and considering the significant development of the ceramic pole, CETESB established specific regulations (Portaria CETESB # 11 of July 10, 2003), imposing the emission parameter of 5 mg F/Nm3 at 18% Oxygen for the ceramic floor industry.

The industry is implanting fluoride emission control equipment to comply with the standards, and is adopting dry and humid furnace gas treatment technologies. The two technologies generate solid residues (dust retained in the bag house filters or in the water circulation decanter), which can be reused in the industrial process.

Financing: CETESB manages the PROCOP- Pollution Control Program, which provides technical assistance and financing to environmental projects in the State of Sao Paulo. The Fund is estimated at R$ 65 million (about CAD $33 million).

Water Re-use

According to a leading company in the water treatment sector, the Brazilian industrial market for water is worth CAD $2.2 billion per year. Industries in Brazil consume 1 billion cubic meters of water p/y and pay an average tariff of $2.23 per cubic meter. This market has grown at an annual rate of 2 - 3% over the last five years and is expected to grow by 3 - 4% per year during the next five years.

Water re-use is becoming increasingly important in large Brazilian population centers, where water scarcity represents high operational costs for impounding and adduction. Recent legislation imposing charges for water collection and effluent disposal in water bodies has increased demand for specialized consulting services and effluent treatment technologies.

Reused water is frequently applied in agricultural irrigation, parks and fields, aquifer recharging and industrial uses (tower cooling, boilers, cleaning of tanks, parts and chimneys). Offices, banks, fire fighters, hospital and car washers are among the end-users of recycled water. Recycled water is also used for concrete preparation in building construction fields.

According to industry experts, several effluent treatment processes are performed in Brazil. These include, preliminary treatments that apply physical processes for removing suspended solids and insoluble materials, such as oils, waxes, fats and solvents, as well as tertiary or advanced treatment which removes organic materials, nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, etc.) and pathogenic bacteria.

Membrane filtration is used when high quality water is required. This technology has become more common in Brazil as a consequence of cost reduction. Membranes used in ultra-, micro-, and nano-filtration and reverse osmosis are imported into Brazil.

Water is an important cost item for industries. Sabesp, the Sao Paulo water utility, charges R$8.75 (about CAD $ 4.25) for one cubic meter of water. Additionally, industries pay the equivalent value for effluent disposal in water bodies, totaling R$ 17.50 (CAD $ 9.30) per cubic meter, whereas the price of recycled water is R$ 1.80 per cubic meter (CAD $0.96 per c.m.).

CIRRA, the International Water Reuse Reference Center of the Sao Paulo State University, estimates that 25% of the 130,000 industries in the state treat their effluents for reuse purpose. CIRRA estimates that 50% of the large, 16% of the middle size and 11% of the small industries in the Paraiba do Sul valley, a highly industrial region that links Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, treat their effluents for reuse purpose.

Major sector users of waste and wastewater treatment in Brazil are (in order or market size): Petrochemical, Iron and Steel, Chemical, and Pulp and Paper.

Excerpted from reports from the U.S. Commercial Service's Market Research Library.