In Brazil, deforestation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country, and illegal logging for firewood is a key component of this issue. The Balsas Renewable Energy Project combats deforestation and climate change by replacing a Brazilian factory’s primary fuel source, deforested wood, with renewable energy.
For decades, the Balsas factory used deforested native wood to fire its kilns. Today, 100% of its fuel comes from local agricultural waste: rice husks. The project transforms this biomass, which would have been inappropriately discarded otherwise, into usable fuel.
The fuel switch also benefits the employee’s health and working conditions in a number of ways. Workers are no longer subjected to carrying heavy wood to the factory, nor the major physical exhaustion associated with this task. Before, employees were exposed to extreme heat when firing up the kilns with wood. With this project, the rice husks are placed into furnaces through an automated biomass feeding system instead. Furthermore, ceramic houses were built for employees and their families, which now bears all of their utility costs.
- About 4,000 tons per year of waste (rice husks) diverted from inadequate destination and reintroduced in the production process
- Improved working conditions to employees (45 employees)
- Housing for employees’ families with utility costs included (about 60 people housed)
- Prevents deforestation - 980ha of forest saved in the course of 10 years, the equivalent to 784 soccer pitches
- Prevents GHG emissions - 5,688t of CO2e avoided per year.