The CEPEMA - Environment Education and Research Center

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The CEPEMA - Environment Education and Research Center
The CEPEMA – Environment Education and Research Center
Cubatão, São Paulo State, Brazil.
Opening: 2007

Since the 1950s the city of Cubatão has been home to the first industrial pole of Brazil. At the time, this region was considered strategic for the development of the country, because it was located near the Santos Harbor, the busiest in Brazil; it already had railroad and highway transport systems, besides counting on plenty of electric energy. The first companies to settle there were the Petrobás Refinery in 1954 and the Companhia Siderúrgica Paulista - Cosipa, in 1959. Both companies were responsible for starting industrial expansion within the city, which ended up consolidating the region as a major industrial park. However in the mid 1970s Cubatão started to feel the disastrous effects of that growth process. Unfamiliarity with the impact of industrial residues on the environment, the lack of technology to control the sources of pollution and the absence of a specific body of laws concerning this issue led the region to face a difficult moment, when chemical products were dumped into the atmosphere, rivers and soil, without proper and effective control.

In the late 1970s, with the development of environmental consciousness, this situation started changing with the implementation of a series of initiatives. As a result the current city of Cubatão, besides being an industrial pole, is also a pioneer region in the control of environmental impact, by means of actions carried out by different public agencies and by the companies themselves.

The Petrobrás initiative to build CEPEMA comes from one of these environmental control policies, more specifically from the Commitment and Adjustment Term relating the Environmental Conduct (TCAC), which forces the companies to compensate for environmental damage by funding social projects in the communities. The TCAC creating this center has been in force since 2004 and besides Petrobrás, it involves the Cia de Tecnologia e Saneamento Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (CETESB) [São Paulo State Technology and Sanitation Company] , the State Prosecutor’s Office and the University of São Paulo. CEPEMA’s aim is to act in the research-promotion field within the several areas of knowledge on the environment: engineering, biology, chemistry, geology, geophysics, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, agriculture and veterinary medicine. The idea is to bring together all these specialties to develop studies on environmental sustainability, via a multidisciplinary approach.

CEPEMA was installed on a 20,000 square-meter land, to the south of Petrobrás’ Presidente Bernardes Refinery, facing the Rodovia Cônego Domenico Rangoni, the former Piaçaguera-Guarujá Highway. The Center has a very complex sophisticated technology program with six labs, support rooms, classrooms, a 125-seat auditorium, documentation center, accommodations for two resident researchers, and an administrative sector over 4,000 square meters of construction.

Besides building the new complex it is Petrobrás’ task to equip the laboratories with the necessary infra-structure, such as benches, water purification system, enclosures and gas lines (nitrogen, helium, oxygen and synthetic air). It is the university’s duty to promote and manage the research activities, as well as the education of researchers and the implementation of new environmental programs.

The design concept was outlined from the division of this complex program into distinctive areas – laboratories and classrooms, auditorium and documentation center – configured in blocks


7 photos and 2 drawings

Building Activity

  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated 2 media and updated
    about 6 years ago via
  • Radil Radenkov
    Radil Radenkov added a digital reference
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