Barcarena Alunorte power station

From Global Energy Monitor


Barcarena Alunorte power station is a 104-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Barcarena, Pará, Brazil.[1]


The map below shows the location of the plant in Barcarena, Pará.

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Barcarena Alunorte is a captive two-unit, 104 MW coal-fired power plant that serves the Hydro Alunorte alumina refinery in Barcarena, Brazil, commissioned in 2010. According to the company website, Hydro Alunorte in Barcarena is the world's largest alumina refinery outside China.[2] The refinery has two units; the first began operating in 1995 while the second began operating in 2016.[2] The refinery and the connected coal plant employ around 2,200 employees and process 6.3 million tonnes of alumina per year.[2] Alunorte, which was previously owned by the company Vale, was bought by Norwegian conglomerate Norsk Hydro in 2011, who now owns 92% of the shares.[3]

Conversion from coal to natural gas

In 2020, Golar Power announced it was partnering with Hydro to develop the Celba FSRU, a floating storage and regasification unit projected to become the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the north of Brazil, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions throughout the region. The terminal would supply LNG to the Alunorte refinery plant by 2022, switching the plant from being coal-fueled to natural gas-fueled.[4][5] In April 2021, Hydro announced that it had decided to invest $1.1 billion (BRL) into the fuel switch project, in line with its goals to reduce the company's greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. The switch was estimated to reduce the refinery’s annual CO2 emissions by 600,000 tonnes.[6]

As of August 2022, New Fortress Energy (NFE) had delayed start-up of its Celba FSRU LNG terminal, but contracts remained in place for NFE to supply gas to the Barcarena Alunorte plant starting in 2023.[7]

Accidents at the Alunorte Refinery

Several mining companies have moved into the Barcarena area, and many have had accidents. The Alunorte refinery has had its fair share: in 2009, as a result of heavy rain, a major spill of toxic substances occurred which killed fish and damaged biodiversity in the nearby river. Brazil's environmental agency fined the company three times for the damage; however, the fines had still not been paid by 2018.

In February 2018, another storm caused an overflow at an Alunorte containment basin. The Justice Tribunal for Pará State investigated the accident and the company agreed to pay a fine of BRL$23 million (US$5.7 million) for the damage, as well as the remaining R$5 million (US$2.8 million) fine from 2009.

Several demonstrations have been organized by civic groups and locals as a result of various environmental disasters caused by the local mining companies and refineries. Issues of contamination, health defects, and more have impacted the communities near Alunorte.[3]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Hydro Alunorte[2]
  • Parent company: Hydro[2]
  • Location: Barcarena, Pará
  • Coordinates: -1.547558, -48.735172
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross Capacity: 104 MW[1]
    • Unit 2: 52 MW
    • Unit 3: 52 MW
  • Start date: 2010
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: Vale

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Uso de água em termoelétricas (p 28)" (PDF). IEMA. November 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Alunorte". Hydro. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Borges, Thais; Branford, Sue (2020-12-10). "Brazilians impacted by mining assert: 'Genocide legalized by the state'". Mongabay Environmental News. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  4. "Golar Power takes major step towards one of world's largest GHG reduction initiatives". CNN. July 23, 2020.
  5. McKay, John (December 14, 2021). "New Fortress Energy signs 15-year gas supply agreement linked to LNG import and power project in Brazil". LNG Journal.
  6. "Hydro to invest in Alunorte fuel-switch project". Hydro. April 27, 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  7. "New Fortress confirma operação de terminais de GNL de Santa Catarina e Pará em 2023". Agência epbr. 2022-08-04.

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