Biomass to Power Dow’s Aratu Complex

by | Dec 2, 2010

The Dow Chemical Company’s largest manufacturing facility in Brazil, the Aratu Complex, has plans to add biomass to its energy mix. Upon completion in December 2012, Aratu will be more than 75 percent sourced for power and steam through hydropower and eucalyptus cogeneration.

The plant is expected to reduce the site’s carbon dioxide emissions by 180,000 metric tons annually, and conserve 200,000 m3 of natural gas daily.  The agreement will also enable carbon credits for Dow through the CO2 emission savings.

The Aratu site currently receives all of its electricity from hydropower, however the chlor-alkali and chlorohydrin production processes require both electricity and steam.  The steam is currently produced by natural-gas fired boilers, and through this project, the wood biomass cogeneration plant would instead produce steam, reducing the CO2 emissions and natural gas use.  Electricity will still be supplied by hydropower.

Dow has signed a supply agreement with Energias Renováveis do Brasil (ERB), which will invest, install and operate the plant.

Dow says it chose wood biomass as an energy source because traditional alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, cannot provide the necessary heat to produce sufficient steam.  Also, biomass provides a proven, abundant and secure source of low-carbon energy in Brazil.

The Aratu site will be the first petrochemical user of biomass in Brazil.  The steam produced by the co-generation plant will be used in the manufacture of materials for the automotive, building and industrial sectors.

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