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A cooperative sugar group, Tereos processes agricultural raw materials into sugar, alcohol and starch.

25 February 2019
Tereos uses aerospace technology in Brazil

The Group invests in an innovative firefighting system

 

Rainfall levels decreased by 48% in Brazil between April and October 2018. Drought has increased the risk of fire and is a concern for the country's agricultural businesses.

As a fire prevention measure, Tereos is making use of aerospace technology to monitor the 300,000 hectares of sugarcane that supply the Group’s seven sugar plants in the São Paulo state. The Group has invested in a pioneering initiative: the ORION (Observed Remote Information from Orbital Navigation) project, involving the continuous observation of fields by satellite. Thirteen satellites, some of which are used by international agencies such as NASA (US Space Agency) monitor the fields in real time.

 

Cutting-edge fire-fighting technology

 

In the São Paulo state, responsibility for protecting the fields lies with the land owner, even if the fire is started by third parties or due to natural causes.

 

Tereos has therefore invested BRL 1 million (approximately €240,000) in the use of these satellites, which serve a dual purpose:

 

- To detect fire with a maximum length of 30 meters. As Edilberto Bannwart, Sustainable Development Director at TSEB, explains, “Depending on where they are, firefighters can detect fire faster than a satellite, but at night time, for example, satellites are more effective.”
 

- To identify the seat of a fire within a radius of 100 meters. Satellites make it possible to compare the ambient temperature with that of the plantation. If the fire is located on land owned by Tereos, a sound and visual alert is sent to the Group’s control center at the Cruz Alta plant in Olímpia (State of São Paulo).

 

A successful endeavor

 

“The satellite does not reduce the seat of the fire, but it cuts the time it takes to react to the fire and reduces its scope,” explains Edilberto Bannwart.

 

Before the Group joined the Orion project, the time taken to detect a fire was one hour and 45 minutes. Now, it ranges between 11 and 21 minutes, enabling Tereos to reduce the impact of fire and, in particular, to cut its sugarcane losses by 34%. Edilberto Bannwart predicts that the detection time will be less than seven minutes in the future.

 

A prevention campaign for everybody

 

The problem cannot be solved by technology alone. Tereos therefore aims to raise public awareness of the risk of fire by investing in:

- Prevention messages on local radio and social networks

- Training of Group employees

- Billboards on the roadside.

 

“The ORION system is an addition to our existing controls. It also brings all the benefits associated with reducing burned land and therefore helps to preserve the environment. This system gives us the help we need to improve operations. More rapid and accurate fire detection has allowed us to optimize the efforts we make: for example, we can alert firefighters closest to the location of the incident, follow progress from a monitoring room and take decisions based on an overview of the affected areas.”

Bruno Ferreira da Silva, Analista de Excelência Operacional Sênior (Senior Operational Excellence Analyst)

 

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