I am Nelia Jurado, a Research Fellow in the Centre for Combustion and CCS at Cranfield University. Last year I was awarded the UKCCSRC's International Research Collaboration Fund in collaboration with the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI), to work with the Computational Science and Engineering Division at National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL- US Department of Energy). I spent three months, late September to December, working with researchers from NETL based in Morgantown (West Virginia) and from Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania).
I had the chance to meet David Miller, Technical Director of CCSI, during the GHGT-12 Conference in October 2014, held in Austin (Texas), thanks to a mutual friend, Pete Baldwin. At the time I was presenting the latest results from the PhD I was about to finish, which was focused on experimental and modelling studies of a 100kW oxy-combustor located at Cranfield University. David showed an interest in my work as oxy-combustion modelling was a part of the agenda for the CCSI, which is a recently concluded partnership among national laboratories, industry, and academic institutions to develop and deploy state-of-the-art computational modelling and simulation tools. There was a plan for using data from CCS RD&D pilot and demonstration scale projects to validate the CCSI methodology, and this was the area where the experiments carried out in the oxy-combustor at Cranfield University proved to be useful. Not only that, having a further think on the potentials of this collaboration, it was acknowledged the possibility of continuation of part of my PhD work, modelling oxy-combustion in Aspen Plus, and improve it by implementing a reduced order oxy-boiler model developed by Dr Jinliang Ma.
The experience of having worked with researchers from NETL (Morgantown and Pittsburgh based), West Virginia University and Carnegie Mellon University has been extremely encouraging. I had the opportunity to meet and learn from people not only very technically talented but showing willingness to help at all time. Another thing that surprised me very positively was the fast communication and problem-solving between different laboratories within NETL. I felt that everyone was very approachable and would not mind go out of their way trying to help me. I would like to show my special gratitude to David Miller and Jinliang Ma for their help and their technical advice. Also, I would like to thank Dr Debangsu Bhattacharyya for hosting me at Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University (Morgantown), and to Professor and Head of Chemical Engineering Department Lorenz Biegler, for hosting me at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh).
Not only has this international collaboration helped to develop some of my modelling abilities, but it has also given me the opportunity to live in two of the States of US, which has been very enriching and allowed me to experience the American kindness and open attitude towards foreigners. I was very lucky to arrive to West Virginia in the season when the leaves change colour which is a wonderful sight and it has lots of natural attractions to discover.
Pittsburgh surprised me with its wide cultural scene, much of it related and free for University students and staff. It is not just the steel and industrial city that it used to be in the 80’s, although it has lots of steel bridges to remind you of that part of its history.
I would like to thank Prof Ben Anthony, Head of Centre for Combustion and CCS at Cranfield University, for his support and letting me to take a break from most of my duties at Cranfield to do this international collaboration. I would also like to thank Prof John Oakey, Head of Energy, Research and Strategy at Cranfield University, for helping to outline the aims of this partnership using his previous experience and contacts within DOE. Finally, I would like to show my special gratitude to UKCCS RC for having such initiatives to help early career researchers, which allows development of our networking skills from the very beginning, acknowledging the impact that this has on our careers.