IVIG supports and develops energy-related projects, using many forms of energy generation. The main objectives of the Institute are social integration and the development of local economy. IVIG researchers identify and develop materials and technologies to replace conventional products and techniques which are not committed to sustainability.
IVIG is a pioneer on the topic of biodiesel in Brazil. The Institute has worked to develop technologies for the fuel since 1999, and its researches are used as reference for the federal government in the elaboration of bolder projects and in the definition of a course of action for this renewable energy sector. The biggest example is B5, available at gas stations nationwide since 2010. The program added 5% of biodiesel to national diesel to enhance the quality of the product. The project is part of the National Plan for the Production and Use of Biofuels (PNPB) from 2004, a result of inter-ministerial work aimed at developing the biodiesel market of the country. The researches carried out within IVIG since the beginning of the decade were fundamental for some of the main guidelines of the PNPB.
IVIG has researched the sustainable implementation of the use of biodiesel as a fuel, and this type of project represents a large opportunity for the development of multi-sector partnerships integrating universities, the government and the private initiative, and in each of these sectors work partnerships have been enhanced. Within the university segment, the Production Engineering Program (PEP), the Chemical Engineering Program (PEQ), the Laboratory of Heat Engines (LMT), the Transportation Engineering Program (PET), the Mechanical Engineering Program (PEM), the Energy Planning Program (PPE), the Institute of Chemistry (IQ – UFRJ), the Chemistry School (EQ-UFRJ) are all coordinated by IVIG.
IVIG develops projects related to Energy Efficiency, and its central offices were transformed into a complex of sustainable buildings, located at Ilha do Fundão (UFRJ). The buildings were constructed with alternative technology and materials, ensuring that C02 emissions are 60% lower. IVIG researchers identify and develop materials and technologies to replace conventional products and techniques which are not committed to sustainability. Hence, to earn the label of an ecological construction, the buildings always aim at decreasing C02 emissions. The roofs have structures made from bamboo and tiles made from cellulose from coconut fiber. The walls are made from bricks of soil cement (homogeneous mix of soil, cement and water), and the doors are made only from certified wood, never extracted from primary forests.
New products are developed as well, such as ecological cement. Made mainly from ceramic dust of broken bricks, it was a result of a partnership with the Laboratory of Structures of Coppe/UFRJ. The recycling process of the material, initially not used, ensures the production of a type of cement that emits 40% less of CO2. In order to calculate the level of pollution of each material, researchers take into account CO2 emissions from the entire productive chain, from raw material extraction to transportation, as well as the life cycle of the product. Commercial scale is the only aspect included in the final calculation that does not belong to the productive chain. It is not enough for the alternative material to pollute less; it needs to be economically competitive. Using this methodology, IVIG researchers created the Energo Intenso (EI) index to indicate the energy intensity an activity requires for its production. The calculation is applied firstly to conventional products and then to their possible replacements, with the purpose of measuring the energy efficiency of each product.
One of the main discoveries of the conducted researches is the fact that the main villain of civil construction is not the initial building work, as researchers used to think, but the maintenance needed throughout the building life cycle, which is of approximately 6o years. Over this period, an average of six large maintenance works are performed. Researches call them Operative Energy – slow and lengthy (maintenance) – as opposed to Productive Energy – intense and fast (construction). With this discovery, investing in sustainable and planned constructions becomes even more important to prevent future maintenance from causing so many impacts.
In a different line of research, IVIG develops the System for Creating Greener and More Natural Constructed Surfaces, Covers and Ways. In this work, researchers installed temperature sensors to monitor the temperature of three houses over a year, in addition to keeping a meteorological station in their backyard. The first building is covered by what they called green roof and walls (plants), built from alternative material. The second house has only soil-brick walls, coconut fiber tiles and other architectural solutions to enhance ventilation. The third house is conventional. The goal is obtain precise measures of the energy efficiency of each building and the thermal comfort they provide in their interiors.
IVIG supports the national development of wind energy technology and maintains a partnership with the main Brazilian company of wind equipment production, Enersud, created in 2001 with the goal of researching, developing and distributing energy solutions. The company has many partnerships with universities and research centers in the entire country. Enersud produces and commercializes equipment aimed at energy production from renewable sources, being the producer with the highest number of small wind energy systems installed in the country. Moreover, its factory is capable of meeting the growth predicted for the market of small-sized renewable energy sources in Brazil. The equipment developed and produced by Enersud employs high-end technology with an elevated innovation index to meet the demands of its clients. Learn more.