Nalco Opens Brazilian Lab, Gets Backing for Carbon Capture Project

Dec. 8, 2009
CP 50 company is investing in critical areas that will drive future success.

Nalco, a Naperville, Ill.-based provider of water treatment and process chemicals, opened a $2 million research and development facility in Campinas, Brazil, strategically located near Brazilian universities. The goal is to serve water, process and energy customers throughout Latin America. It will work in concert with the company’s research centers in Sugar Land, Texas, and Naperville, Ill.

“Brazil is one of the 10 largest economies in the world, making it a key growth market for Nalco and a cornerstone of our BRIC+ (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Middle East) strategy,” says Erik Fyrwald, Nalco chairman and CEO. “Despite a poor global economy, we are investing in critical areas that will drive our future success as the world’s economy turns up.”

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The Campinas laboratory is located in the Techno Park Campinas, which covers more than half a million square meters and houses more than 60 companies.

“The Campinas facility allows us to be closer to our customers in Brazil and in Latin America,” says Sergio Sousa, Nalco managing director for Latin America. “In addition to developing new technologies specific to Brazil and Latin America, it will assist in deploying important, patented Nalco programs such as 3D TRASAR automation technology for cooling water and NexGuard technology for boiler systems.”

Nalco recently installed the 10,000th unit of its 3D TRASAR Cooling Water Automation equipment — at Cargill Inc.'s corn milling plant in Dayton, Ohio. Advanced automation in cooling tower operations improves Cargill’s efficiency at more than 30 locations globally, saving the company more than 150 million gallons of water annually.

The 3D TRASAR Cooling Water system won a United States Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2008 for its ability to allow cooling towers to operate longer before adding make-up water, reducing industrial water consumption.

“Helping customers meet their sustainability goals while saving money is what we call eROI or environmental return on investment,” says Fyrwald.

In other environmental news, a project in which Nalco is partnering with the Argonne National Laboratory was recently selected for new Department of Energy (DOE) advanced research funding.

It uses an electrochemical process to capture a key greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from coal-fired power plants, and is among 37 “transformational” projects to be funded by the DOE. It will build on an existing research partnership between Nalco and Argonne to develop advanced technologies to reduce, reuse and recover power plant cooling water.

The objective of this carbon capture program is to meet DOE goals of removing as much as 90% of the CO2 from a power plant’s flue gas while using less energy and at a lower cost than current technology. The carbon captured then could serve for algae growth for enhanced biofuels production or for enhanced oil and natural gas recovery.
“Finding ways to use coal more efficiently while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions will allow the United States to better use one of its key domestic energy sources,” says Nalco’s Chief Technology Officer Manian Ramesh. “This is an outstanding opportunity to expand our existing partnership with Argonne to develop this exciting new technology for providing cleaner energy.”