Subject was the focus of the VI Internal Workshop of the Centre, when a new research program was also announced

The alignment of the 45 projects of the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI) with the commitments to reducing carbon emissions in the natural gas and petroleum sector and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development is increasingly visible, as proven by the presentations given during the Centre’s VI Internal Workshop, held on March 21 and 22 in the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), in the State Capital.

Upon opening the program, the RCGI’s Scientific Director, Julio Meneghini, called attention to the issue. “We must have world leaders who are closely aligned with the issues of climate change, as well as mechanisms in place for sharing our common interests,” he emphasized, remembering that, coming up on the decade of 2060, it will be necessary to have a negative Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions footprint. “And that will only be achieved by capturing CO2, which is the main greenhouse gas. Here enter the renewable energy sources and, more recently, such technologies as those that our scientists are researching in the RCGI, which allow the generation of clean energy from fossil fuels,” he stated.

Engineer Oscar Serrate, who has been working on the RCGI’s compliance with the United Nations goals under this aspect, remembered that today there are several narratives regarding the subject – from that of Al Gore, who calls attention to the evidence of the negative impacts of climate change; to that which is focused on the expansion of the use of fossil fuels, according to which mitigation will restrain economic growth. “For us to be heard, it is necessary that we speak the language of the SGDs. We need a strategic narrative that can provide a concise idea of what is being done, and why this that is being done connects with a positive vision of the future.”

Issues at stake – Besides the sustainability issue, pressure is being brought to bear by the increased demand for energy worldwide. “We are witnessing an increased demand for energy per capita in the developing countries, and there rests the huge responsibility of the RCGI. China and India alone represent over 25% of the world’s population, and consumption is growing in these countries. Furthermore, there is the North American energy consumption, which is very high: on the order 350 giga jaules per capita, annually,” Meneghini stressed.

In this sense, he pointed out, it is necessary to generate innovations. “That is to work on topics the enjoy short, medium and long-term success. With a united and motivated team, we will be capable of having new ideas, and to translate them into innovation”, Meneghini stressed.

Good results – During the two days of the workshop, the results of all 46 projects were presented from the four programs: Engineering, Physical Chemistry, Energy and Economic Policies, and CO2 Abatement. “In each workshop, some projects are more outstanding; however, we must stress that all of them have been playing a fundamental role throughout these three years of work by the RCGI,” Meneghini emphasized.

He cited the outstanding examples of Project10, which seeks to optimize labyrinth gasket topology to prevent methane leaks; Project 41, which simulates internal flows with molecular dynamics to reduce load losses in pipelines for transporting CO2, CH4, and oil; Project 39, where the goal is to develop supersonic gas separators; and Project 37, which simulates and maximizes CO2 compressors and mixes CO2 and CH4 under supercritical conditions.

New program – The Scientific Director of the RCGI also announced the launch of a fifth program: Geophysics, which presently has a single large project involving some 60 researchers and is coordinated by Professor Bruno Carmo, of the Poli-USP.

The goal of the project is to deliver an open and flexible numeric simulation software for solving inverse problems, which are increasingly occurring in the academic world. These are situation where scientists have measurements about something, but do not know exactly what that something is, which they want to discover. For example: the size and geometry of an onshore or offshore petroleum and natural gas reservoir.

In addition to researchers, coordinators, and stakeholders of the subject of energy transition, the workshop was also graced by the participation of the Technical Scientific Coordinator of Shell, Alexandre Breda, and the representative of the company’s Executive Committee in the RCGI, Camila Brandão.