Some companies profit as Brazil struggles to secure power

September 11, 2014

Todd Benson and Marguerita Choy – Reuters, 09/11/2014

A small group of energy companies in Brazil are increasing revenues at a time when the country is grappling with its worst power crisis in more than a decade, taking advantage of sky-high prices to sell electricity in the spot market.

Power generators that have managed to produce extra energy in recent months or who aren’t restricted by long-term supply contracts are being rewarded with prices up to six times higher than the average cost on conventional electricity contracts.

At the same time, distributors that had to resort to the short-term market to fulfill demand increases are facing financial burdens and are being rescued by the government. The situation underscores the imbalances of the Brazilian power system, which has come under stress because of a prolonged drought. The energy crunch has also become a hot topic in Brazil’s presidential race, with the government facing criticism for not ensuring a stable power supply at reasonable prices.

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Brazil soccer field harnesses player-power

September 11, 2014

The Associated Press - CBS News, 09/11/2014

Kids streaking back and forth on a soccer field in scorching tropical heat promises to produce something more than buckets of sweat.

Billed as Brazil’s first player-powered soccer pitch, a field inaugurated Wednesday in a Rio de Janeiro slum harnesses the kinetic energy of players’ movements to provide nighttime illumination. Soccer legend Pele was on hand for the pomp-filled event in the Morro da Mineira slum, which saw a local youth team put the system to the test.

Under the project, sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell, around 200 energy-capturing tiles developed by British startup Pavegen were installed the width and breadth of the field and covered by a layer of AstroTurf. Working in conjunction with solar panels also installed around the field, the player-powered tiles feed electricity to a system of floodlights overhead.

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Construction begins on first-ever undersea fiber optic cable from Brazil to the U.S.

September 11, 2014

Richard Byrne Reilly – VentureBeat, 09/10/2014

Seaborn Networks and Alcatel Lucent are taking their broadband and data concerns underwater. Under the Atlantic Ocean, to be specific.

The two companies are planning the first-ever submarine fiber optic cable connecting Brazil to the U.S. The cable, which will run from the Brazilian city of Fortleza, on that country’s Eastern coast, to Wall Street in New York City, will help handle the increasing data flows between the two nations.

The cable, called the Seabras-1, is being developed by John Schwartz and his team at Seaborn. Seabras-1 will transmit data, including cell traffic and digital feeds, at 60 terabits per second.

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US Clears Black Hawk Sale to Brazil

September 10, 2014

Joe Gould – Defense News, 9/9/2014

The US State Department has cleared a $145 million sale of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Brazil, the Pentagon agency that coordinates foreign weapon sales said Tuesday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on Monday that the State Department approved the sale.

Brazil requested three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters with eight T-700-GE-701C engines (six installed and two spares), a dozen M-134 7.62mm machine guns, eight H765GU embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems, and related training, logistics and support equipment, according to the agency’s notice.

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GE to add 1.5GW Brazil wind by 2016

August 27, 2014

Recharge News, 8/26/2014

General Electric anticipates that it will have an additional 1.5GW of wind energy capacity installed in Brazil by the end of 2015, company executive Jean-Claude Fernand Robert told an exclusive Recharge Thought Leaders lunch here.

Robert, head of renewable energy at GE for Latin America, made his forecast as GE announced that it has now 1GW in Brazil wind installations.

During the first half, GE connected 381 wind turbines to the grid in Brazil, providing 600MW generating capacity. GE claims to have connected 184 of these turbines in one week alone for developer Renova Energia.

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São Paulo: the biggest, strongest start-up ecosystem in Brazil

August 27, 2014

Jonathan Moules – Financial Times, 8/26/2014

The TechnoLatinas, as South America’s digital founders are collectively known, have a strong presence in the financial capital of Brazil.

São Paulo has the largest and most powerful start-up ecosystem in this most populous of South American countries, with a spread of companies from early stage to more established.

As the main financial centre of Latin America, it hosts almost all the offices of multinational corporations present in the region. There is also a big opportunity locally in terms of market size, thanks to São Paulo’s population of 11.8m.

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Students In Brazil Use Pattern Recognition Algorithm For Safe Driving

August 25, 2014

Empire State Tribune, 8/25/2014

Five students at the Santa Catarina State University in Brazil submitted a project to Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition subjects that functions as a pattern recognition system in a dashboard camera to detect the use of mobile phones of drivers while on the road.

The head proponent Rafael Berri, together with his friends, Alexandre Silva, Rafael Parpinelli, Elaine Girardi and Rangel Arthur introduced a solution to prevent drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. The camera monitors the pattern of the face, ears, and hands and other signs of ‘on the phone’ to lessen the chances of accidents.

Berri and his team said that drivers tend to fix their gaze straight ahead while on the phone. Thus, placing the dashboard camera in front of the driver is an ideal spot to effectively scan the patterns, according to MIT Technology Review. If the driver is caught while on the phone, the system sends a warning.

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