At an outlying, cleared forest area in Southern Brazil, a detention center for 600 prisoners was put into operation after an extraordinarily short construction time. This jail - put into operation in October - is not yet energy self-sufficient, but the successor projects should be. This one should get a first BIVP in-roof system (not yet realized). The development of a modular and energy self-sufficient building system for this prison took place on an interdisciplinary basis through the companies Siscobras (Brazil), Galaxy Energy GmbH and Thomas WWI GmbH & Co. KG and the construction research institute IAB Weimar GmbH, which had the project management (all from Germany).
The project target, building system development and energy self-sufficient furnishing of buildings from office modules with photovoltaic systems and the conception for their water supply/disposal, were achieved. With the modular building system, among other things prisons and schools can be built in regions with undeveloped infrastructure and the self-sufficient supply of objects/users can be ensured. Special constructions and systems were developed for supplying solar electricity. The Brazilian partner Siscobras furnished the prefabricated concrete modules for this energy self-sufficient detention center. In this project, promoted by BMWi in the ZIM/ZF program, there were also structural developments, among others to the shell of the room modules (fiber-integrated thin façade panels, connecting means and BIPV elements).
High strength and surface qualities
In the last 15 years, a total of 106 prisons for more than 28,000 inmates in ten Brazilian states have been constructed with the “Siscopen” modules.
The patented “Sistema Construtivo Penitenciário” was developed especially for these prison buildings and consists of high-performance concrete with compressive strengths of approximately 85 N/mm². This so-called “CAD concrete” (Concreto de Alto Desenpenho) makes the detention cells secure, is water-proof and what is more, impresses with a surface quality that is even on a par with cut or polished natural stone of high degrees of hardness.
These high strengths result from the concrete recipe developed especially for manufacturing the container modules, consisting of quartz sand without coarse aggregates, imported white cement (CEM I 52,5 R), alkali-resistant glass fibers as well as special additives and water. An additional steel reinforcement is not necessary, only a spray gun, application roller and cement trowel are required to apply the mixture. The cement paste is premixed and put into the spray gun, which, by means of an integrated cutting unit divides the long glass fiber rovings into exactly defined short fibers. Upon application to the (concrete) formwork surface the cement paste and glass fibers bond, and when the admixture is added the fresh concrete is applied without the need for further compression.
Molds of precast concrete components C100/115
“Normally, it tooks three to four years with the conventional construction to build prison complexes. With our system, this is now possible in just six months, as in this example”, explained Prof. Dr. Hélio Greven, external scientific project consultant. “We successfully developed our special white concrete recipe in a long series of tests at the University of Porto Alegre. Along with the white cement, the outstanding surface qualities and in particular the radiant white shade are courtesy of the use of titanium dioxide. And the high compressive strengths are due to the requirements in the Brazilian penal system, since concrete components there must be absolutely escape proof and vandalism proof.”
Even the molds for manufacturing the module wall panels are made of high-strength precast C100/115 concrete components. These elements at 3 x 3 m have such an even and low-porous surface that although manual grinding is required before the next concreting if necessary, no application of release agent is necessary. Along with the building or container shell the furniture is also made of high-strength concrete.
Formal Project Presentation in Porto Alegre
In late July the project presentation of “MEACS” took place in Porto Alegre, the capital of the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, before about 80 Government officials of the Ministry of Security and representatives of universities, businesses and the media. MEACS stands for “Modular and Energy Autarkical Construction System”.
Brazilian partner Siscobras is hoping for political interest and financial support to realize a first energy self-sufficient detention center. Daily newspapers and television reported about the meeting. Eng. Henrique Deboni, CEO of Siscobras: “Thanks to the expertise of our German project partners, not only were all our expectations realized, they were even surpassed. Now it is just a question of our government creating all the necessary circumstances so that we can meet the actual demand and produce at full speed. After all, at a maximum production capacity of four prison cells per day currently only single cell is being transported from our plant every day, although the existing Brazilian detention centers are bursting at the seams and new detention centers are urgently needed. Since we also would like to ramp up our workforce of 45 employees to about four times as many, this will also vitalize the job market.”
Dr. Ingrid Lützkendorf, Project Manager at IAB Weimar, also praised the outstanding interdisciplinary cooperation: “We are very proud of the fact that our long-term commitment here in Brazil – for example we have been represented several times as exhibitors at the Concrete Show in São Paulo – is now bearing the fruits. The newly developed in-roof, on-roof and façade solutions for supplying solar electricity should become a permanent feature of the new prison buildings. In addition to the success of our project, I feel the need to pay tribute and express our gratitude for the extraordinarily warm hospitality of our Brazilian partners.”