Students from the University of Veiga de Almeida (UVA) and the University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, came together to think of solutions to protect Rio de Janeiro from the rise in sea levels caused by climate change. The students designed a 9.5-kilometer-long and 11-meter-high dam to be built on the Rio-Niterói Bridge, which would help prevent flooding in part of Rio de Janeiro’s municipalities, including the Tom Jobim-Riogaleão International Airport , Duque de Caxias, Magé, Guapimirim, Itaboraí and São Gonçalo.

The project is based on modeling prepared by Climate Central, a non-profit organization headquartered in the United States, and forecasts a critical climate change scenario, with an increase of 3 meters in sea level.

UVA was the only Brazilian university to participate in the Protecting Delta Cities: International Student Challenge, promoted by the Dutch university. The initiative aimed to encourage young researchers from nine countries to think of alternatives to protect cities located in deltas and coastal regions from a 3 meter rise in sea level. The list of potentially affected cities included Rio de Janeiro; New York, in the United States; Durban, South Africa; and Taipei, on the island of Taiwan.

According to Viviane Japiassú, professor of the undergraduate courses in Environmental Engineering and the Professional Master’s Degree in Environmental Science at the University Veiga de Almeida and coordinator of the project Que Chuva É Essa? , in the Netherlands, the University of Rotterdam selected groups of students to work on each city. These joined UVA students in weekly meetings, for a month, to prepare a proposal for the Guanabara Bay.

The solutions formulated by the groups were presented at a seminar held in November this year.


“The idea is to continue the collaboration, to see how to make the proposal viable and adjust some limitations that may appear”, Viviane told Agência Brasil . Next week, the UVA group will have a meeting with representatives from the city of Rio de Janeiro to talk about the proposal and the ways to make the project viable or adaptable.

According to the professor, cities located in the Brazilian coastal area will suffer a lot from the rise in sea level.

The students from Veiga de Almeida focused the project on the Guanabara Bay, taking into account the great expertise of the Netherlands in the construction of maritime dams. All Dutch students who participated in the challenge are studying civil engineering, while the majority of UVA students are studying environmental engineering and only one, electrical engineering. The group also had the participation of a professional master’s degree student in environmental science, who is part of the research and extension project Que Chuva É Essa? , which develops studies and actions aimed at reducing the risk of disasters associated with extreme rains in Rio.

“All along, we have focused on the socio-environmental importance of Guanabara Bay,” said Viviane. The teacher explained that the solution could not be restricted to closing the Guanabara Bay. The option to install a dam on the bridge, and not at the entrance to the bay, aimed to allow the circulation of ships in the Port of Rio, facilitating the maritime traffic of large vessels, in addition to preserving the local ecosystem, which is of socioeconomic importance for communities in the surroundings, such as that of artisanal fishermen.

“Once we manage to retain the elevation at this point, we will also protect the municipalities and Galeão Airport, which would be flooded with these 3 meters of elevation from the sea”, explained the professor.


The students’ project also foresees the installation of solar panels on the dam capable of generating more than 80 megawatts/hour of energy per day, enough to supply more than 14,000 homes in the region or to pump more than 2,000 liters of water from the bay. back to the sea. Another potential for energy generation described in the project would come from the use of the vibration generated by vehicles when passing the Rio-Niterói Bridge.

Two boys and five women formed the group at the Universidade Veiga de Almeida, and the Dutch class had only boys. In total, the team had ten participants.

One of the students from Rio de Janeiro that integrates the group is Larissa Stankevicius, who is studying the 8th period of environmental engineering. After the initial culture shock, the group met every week to develop the solution, Larissa said. She told Agência Brasil that it is necessary to continue the project, so that it will help in some way, if possible.

The dam project created by students from UVA and the Netherlands can be seen on YouTube .

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

Source: Agência Brasil