As world industry steps up environmental concerns, the pressure for safe waste disposal is on. One of Brazil's most innovative pollution control companies invests in new divisions and international technology to help the country clean up its act. Reuben Ford reports.
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Enfil SA specializes in technologies for pollution control and wastewater treatment. The company is present in the national and international markets keeping its focus on the execution of projects and supply and installation of equipment and systems.
In the last three years the company has diversified its activities – organizing operations into water and wastewater treatment, air pollution control, waste management and remediation and construction and assembly divisions.
Remaining at the forefront of the industry means keeping a watchful eye on the global environmental control industry. Enfil invests in strong and successful partnerships with suppliers around the world to ensure it offers equipment and processes that meet the most challenging technical standards in modern industry.
“We look for the best technology and bring it to Brazil,” says Development Director, Renato Greco.
The technologies offered by Enfil are the result of 20 years of developments that have been applied in hundreds of supplied systems and technical cooperation agreements signed with companies worldwide.
Founded in 1994, Enfil SA first specialized in air pollution, acting at all stages of gas treatment; from the separation of the pollutant or dust to filtering and release to the atmosphere. In 1997 the company began providing the market with physical-chemical and biological systems for the treatment of water, wastewater and effluents.
The company’s success es- calated in 1998, with the first Air Pollution Control (APC) turnkey project and the first contract with Brazilian national oil and gas giant Petrobras. The relationship with Petrobras has grown considerably and in 2009 Enfil closed its biggest water treatment control contract – reconfirming the credibility and success of the system and consolidating the partnership.
In parallel, Enfil developed APC technologies, introducing a new product line of gas desulphurization systems in 2007; selling four 360MW units in the same year.
“By 2010, Enfil was already listed in the official top one thousand companies in Brazil,” Greco confirms.
With the considerable success of the two areas (APC and water treatment), Enfil launched two more divisions in 2011: residue and waste management and construction and assembly. “In fact, we were already operational in industrial assembly, maintenance and construction – we formalized the division in 2011,” Greco clarifies. With highly qualified professionals, the division provides all types of assembling services of components, equipment and facilities, with supervision and auxiliary manpower with guarantee and best terms.
Complementing the area of environmental solutions, Enfil is also present in the segment of recovery of contaminated areas through physical-chemical and biological processes: Applying management systems, which are properly selected depending on the characteristics of the contaminants and of the contamination extension.
Why embark on two new divisions while existing business was booming? The answer according to Greco is straightforward: “Waste management is an area of rapid development in Brazil, allowing considerable expansion. The move also broadened Enfil’s business, reducing dependence on APC and water systems.”
Over 20 years the technology available in the division has changed considerably. In 1994, Enfil began work with Nipon Steel. Since then, the company has formed important working partnerships with other clients and suppliers worldwide. Today, Enfil has technical cooperation agreements with Graver Water Systems Inc. in the United States and Purac Läckeby Water Group in Sweden, among others.
As well as revolutionary dry air desulphurization systems, Greco lists Enfil’s biological membrane water filter treatments (MBR – Membrane Bio Reactor) as some of the most modern and efficient in the market. Physical water treatments include clarification, reverse osmosis, desalinization, demineralization, disinfection, reverse electro dialysis and dewatering of sludge.
Enfil has also developed important technology for the treatment of highly toxic PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyl) widely used as dielectric, transformer and coolant fluids. Due to PCB residue’s environmental toxicity and classification as a persistent organic pollutant it was banned by the United States Congress in 1979. Enfil imports international technology, which reduces environmental impact of PCB treatment.
As demand for waste treatment technology grows and laws become tighter, Enfil’s markets are expanding. “Although our head offices are in São Paulo, we operate mainly in the industrial areas of São Paulo state, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Ceará and Rio Grande do Sul,” Greco confirms.
Enfil has subsidiary offices in Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Pernambuco states, all of which were opened to attend local needs and reduce high taxation costs. “Our operations – engineering, proposals, projects, finance and administration are carried out in São Paulo,” Greco clarifies. Sales representatives operate across the country. Enfil employs a total of 300 staff, which can increase to 2,000 during construction contracts.
The eclectic applications of the waste systems involve the oil and gas, steel, mining, paper and cellulose, sanitation and energy industries.
Enfil’s most recent investments have been directed toward the development and launch of new systems. “Air pollution control and, more recently, construction and assembly products are ongoing focuses of resources,” Greco says. Sales are currently concentrated in South America, despite some individual projects in Europe, the Caribbean and other countries. “We have participated in big operations internationally and are investing in increasing our presence overseas,” Greco continues.
International growth is supported by Enfil’s research and development initiatives that follow global tendencies and innovations. Associating with the world leaders and combining the best systems with some of its own technology to produce a highly competitive range.
“We can compete with all others in the market – depending on the area and size of the company. In comparison to bigger companies, such as multinationals, we are more agile and can take decisions faster, which keeps us ahead of the game. For companies smaller than us, our quality and price together with international equipment set us apart,” Greco says.
Importing international technology to Brazil is actually cheaper than domestic production. Greco explains that Enfil’s production facility in Itú, São Paulo, has greatly reduced its productivity due to the lower costs of foreign equipment: “Bringing machinery and systems from Eastern Europe and South East Asia is more cost-effective than producing in Brazil, even with freight and taxes. Our factory now only manufactures small parts.”
Working with the capital good market, Enfil is sensitive to global and domestic changes in interest rates and investments. “Any change in political or economic policies must be taken into careful consideration,” Greco says.
Enfil has managed steady annual growth through investment in the two new divisions and attending to the constant need for waste disposal: “We will always produce waste and always need effective technologies for its treatment – it’s a huge area of industry. Especially in Brazil, where investment in sanitation is a priority,” Greco continues. The two new areas construction and assembly and residue management attend directly to the country’s needs.
“In the future it is our attention to continue investment in new divisions, new contracts and new technologies,” Greco concludes.