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Industrial Energy Efficiency Skills in Brazil

Brazil’s is now undergoing a massive investment in energy efficiency skills. I was recently hosted by SENAI, the national industrial training organization, at its Institute of Innovation in Electrical Power Systems (SENAI ISI) in São Paulo. SENAI was established in 1942 and is funded by a 2% payroll tax on industrial companies. It provides training services to Brazilian Industry across a wide range of areas, from practical skills such as welding through to skills associated with Industry 4.0. There are over 50 SENAI training schools in Sao Paulo, the industrial capital of Brazil. I was at the Escola SENAI Carlos Pasquale.

Industrial Energy Efficiency Skills in Brazil 1
Escola SENAI Carlos Pasquale

 My work was mostly focussed on train the trainer and skills assessment of 19 instructors in Measurement and Verification (M&V) of energy savings. This project involves EVO – the Efficiency Valuation Organisation, SENAI and is supported by GIZ, the German development agency.

This being Brazil, there was a lot of fun in the class, with some highly animated trainers.

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Animated Class

SENAI currently employs around 40 energy efficiency specialists – most of them engineers – in the state of São Paulo in its PotencializEE program (Transformative Investments Program for Energy Efficiency in Industry). It plans on growing that number to over 100 whilst also expanding to other states. They are well equipped with tools that aid in the identification of energy wastage and savings opportunities, I was drooling at the great set of tools available – including a ultrasonic compressed air leak detector that, based on the air pressure, can determine the leakage rate.

Industrial Energy Efficiency Skills in Brazil 3
Rodolpho Pinheiro da Silva, Project and Technical Supervisor of SENAI’s Energy Technology Centre, with a compressed air leak detector.

The PotencializEE program involves working with industry in a pre-diagnostic phase at no charge. Comprehensive energy audits are then offered, with 60% of the cost subsidised. In Brazil banks typically require a loan guarantee of 100% to 150% of the value of the loan, the PotencializEE program has a fund linked to it that can be used to provide a guarantee to the value of 90% of the loan. The program has a target of 250 energy efficiency upgrade projects being implemented by 2024 (2025?). The photo below, with Rodolfo Pinheiro da Silva, Project and Technical Supervisor of SENAI’s Energy Technology Centre, shows how the project is currently tracking. Currently over 300 industrial energy audits are in progress!

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Industrial Energy Efficiency Project Tracking Board

Brazil has extensive hydro-electric resources, and there has been a lot of investment in wind and solar. Consequently, with roughly 93% of electricity sourced from renewable sources, the emissions factor is only around about 0.04 kgs CO2-e! A key focus of the PotentializEE program is therefore on reducing thermal energy use, and there is a lot of interest in steam heat pumps. As is the case in many countries, industry is strongly interested in reducing costs, so no doubt the program will contribute to a industry also being more electrically efficient too. Brazil is taking the carbon border adjustment mechanism for the EU very seriously. It is advantaged with its low electricity emissions factor, and the large investment in energy efficiency skills and people will further increase its competitiveness by reducing natural gas usage and the burning of wood.

SENAI has a mobile training facility focussed just on Energy Efficiency that is also impressive – one of over 70 different mobile schools! This facility provides introductory industrial energy efficiency training, and is equipped with a couple of different compressed air systems, compressed air metering, a dynamometer for electric motor testing, and a jig used for training in motor rewiring techniques, amongst others.

SENAI Mobile Energy Efficiency School
SENAI’s mobile energy efficiency school
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Inside the mobile energy efficiency school

SENAI is taking energy efficiency very seriously, and I was deeply impressed by the very significant investment being made in energy efficiency skills. Parabems SENAI!

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