Davide Bocciardo – An ECR in Brazil

I am Davide Bocciardo, a final year PhD student from the Carbon Capture group at the University of Edinburgh. Thanks to the ECR International Exchange Fund from the UKCCSRC, I had the unique opportunity to spend a month in Brazil as a visiting researcher in Fortaleza at Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC) in the Grupo De Pesquisas Em Separações por Adsorção (Separation by Adsorption Research Group – GPSA) led by Professor Célio Loureiro Cavalcante Jr.

I had the possibility to visit their labs where high-pressure adsorption measurements are carried out for CO2 capture and high-pressure gas separations, thanks to instruments as Rubotherm magnetic suspension balances. I was also involved in the preparation of training material on membrane separation and CCS for Masters’ and PhD students: I could introduce the UK situation and the current CCS research. Despite the climate change debate is still in progress compared to UK, I could verify by myself the huge opportunities there are for future collaborations and research in terms of CCS. For example, a centre for CO2 capture is being built in the campus where tests on materials for carbon capture applications will be carried out. I also had the opportunity to present my work at a seminar and this was and additional way to interact with the academic community at UFC. 

Not only was I a visiting researcher in Fortaleza, but I also attended the 2nd Membrane Separation Processes Symposium (SIMPAM) in Rio the Janeiro from the 29th of July to the 2nd of August. The attendance to this symposium was full of inputs for both my work and for my future. The first day was dedicated to short courses given by experts on membrane science while two days were dedicated to presentations: it was a great opportunity for me to present my three years of work to an international audience of experts in membrane science. Thanks to both poster and oral presentations, I received feedback and networked with experts from both industry and academia. The event also included a workshop on gas separation which was a unique opportunity to participate in a discussion amongst several world leading companies in membrane manufacturing and engineers from Petrobras, which held and organised the conference. The leitmotif of this workshop was the possibility of capturing CO2 from offshore fields which are planning to be exploited in the next months, and despite a lack of currently existing regulations on the topic, Petrobras is committed to capturing CO2 which can then be used for EOR. As a conclusion of this intense week, I also joined the inauguration of the Center of Excellence on Natural Gas (CEGN) at the Cidade Universitaria in Rio. 

This experience was also beneficial from the personal point: I believe that living the everyday routine is the best way to get to know a country. Both Fortaleza and Rio are extremely vivid and amazing cities: I also learned some Portoguese and the people I met at UFC made me feel at home.

In conclusion, I would like thank UKCCSRC, my supervisors at UoE (Professor Brandani and Dr Ferrari) and Professor Cavalcante for giving me such a great opportunity. This experience provided me with an insight into such a significant country as Brazil, and it was a unique personal and professional opportunity.