The third largest on the planet, the Brazilian ceramic tile industry, represented by Anfacer (National Association of Manufacturers of Ceramic Tiles, Sanitary Ware and Congeners), can celebrate a new and important milestone in terms of environmental sustainability.
A study carried out by the sector, through the Ceramic Center of Brazil (CCB), shows that in 2021, the Brazilian ceramic sector emitted 3.26 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) per square meter (m2) produced. The figure is lower than the volume emitted by two of the most traditional and technological global manufacturers, Spain, with 5.5 kg ofCO2eq/m2, and Italy, with an average of 5 kg ofCO2eq/m2.
Both countries are among the largest manufacturers and exporters of ceramic tiles in the world. Italy is the largest exporter and the sixth largest producer, while Spain ranks third and fourth, respectively. Brazil is third in production and sixth in sales to foreign markets.
In addition to having an energy matrix based on burning natural gas, whose greenhouse gas emissions are 27% lower than those from oil and 44% lower than those from coal, the Brazilian ceramic tile industry has a raw material that requires less energy.
"The figures reinforce the environmentally sustainable nature of Brazilian ceramic tiles. Our sector remains committed to improving this indicator, with investment in even greener fuels and more efficient processes," explains Anderson Vieira, Anfacer's Quality and Sustainability consultant.
At the beginning of 2023, Anfacer, in partnership with APLA (Local Alcohol Production Arrangement), Aspacer (São Paulo Ceramic Tile Association) and Sindiceram (Ceramic Industry Union - Criciúma), launched an initiative aimed at gradually replacing natural gas with biomethane as a fuel for factory kilns.
Expected to be operational by the beginning of 2025, the use of the fuel should reach 5% of the energy consumption of the participating industries. By 2030, the volume is expected to reach 50% of the sector's consumption in São Paulo, equivalent to approximately one million cubic meters per day.
Biomethane is a cutting-edge technology that already exists and is highly sustainable, with enormous supply potential and available inputs, including in the sugarcane off-season. This gas promotes a green economy, in line with the international standards discussed at COP 27: reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere; intelligent management of organic waste; local production, reducing the need to build large gas pipeline lines; improving the quality of life by reducing the release of methane into the atmosphere; and contributing to curbing climate change.