Texas has been manufacturing steam turbines for the past three decades. Sergio Feliciano tells Lee Weingast how his family business has positioned itself as leading provider to the growing sugar and ethanol sector both in its native Brazil and abroad.
Recently Brazil has played a starring role in the international news for its excellent performance in the ethanol sector. In fact the country’s involvement in the efficient production of this alternative energy dates back over 30 years from when the Brazilian government Pro-Alcohol program gave an overwhelming boost to the ethanol market in 1975. Joaquim Soares Feliciano and his wife Maura Siqueira Feliciano saw an opportunity to help fill the overwhelming demand for parts for distilleries and founded Incopeças to produce parts for and provide services to the sugar and ethanol sector. By the beginning of the 1980s Incopeças had progressed well beyond its humble beginnings as a small company with simple machinery to become a well established service provider for steam turbine engines with a workforce of 200 employees. Springing from this strong base in the industry, in 1986, the Felicianos founded Texas Steam Turbines Limited. Texas took the important step from simply maintaining to manufacturing multi-stage turbines and parts especially for the sugar and ethanol, petrochemical and paper and cellulose sectors.
As concern about renewable energy grows worldwide, players in the sugar and ethanol field outside Brazil have also begun to take an interest in Texas’ products. The company started exporting to a number of South American countries in 2005 and exports – all to the sugar and ethanol sector – now account for approximately 20 percent of revenue. Feliciano says that Texas intends to increase the focus on foreign sales with future investment in Central America and perhaps the United States.
Texas is working on not only maintaining but also strengthening its position as a leader in the steam turbine market and continues to invest in research and development to improve Texas brand equipment. Last year Texas came out with more powerful and efficient machines with maximum capacity of 30 megawatts and 65 bar, made especially for generation of electricity. The company is setting goals for further improvement. “We need to increase to up to 50 megawatts and up to 120-bar so we are looking for foreign partners who have this technology so we can meet this goal as soon as possible,” Feliciano says. The company’s management is currently taking steps to grow and expand by forming technology partnerships with foreign turbine manufacturers. Feliciano explains that these partnerships will help to develop technologies that can be used in Brazil as well as on the international market.
MOTORING INTO THE FUTURE
Because Texas manufactures and maintains steam turbines used in generating electricity and producing ethanol, the company can expect demand for its products and services to rise as the world places increased value in these alternative energy sources. Texas is in an excellent position to meet the needs of the expanding ethanol and thermo-electric energy market both in Brazil and abroad through expanding in size and modernizing its production facilities and capabilities. Future investments in modern computer numerical controlled machinery and technology partnerships will facilitate production of better machinery. Feliciano foresees that the company is prepared to meet the growing demands of domestic and foreign ethanol and power sectors. Texas is ready to power into the future full steam ahead.