Some 30 scientific publications, three petitions for patents, and 16 new projects are among the achievements of the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation

A three-day workshop summarized the results of the first eighteen months of work of the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI). The event took place August 8 to 10 in the facilities of USP’s Polytechnic School (Poli-USP) and brought together coordinators and researchers from RCGI, as well as representatives of Shell, which is one of the funding institutions of the Centre, and representatives of other research institutions, like the Instituto Tecnológico Vale.

The fruit of the labors of one and a half years have been prolific, both generally speaking and for each specific project. Overall, the highlights are the articles published in scientific periodicals (approximately 30), appearances in the media (trade and non-trade), participation in conferences, and visits to international institutions to build possibilities for collaboration in research and innovation.

“Three patents are also in the filing process, as a direct result of the efforts of researchers involved in the Centre’s projects,” said Júlio Meneghini, RCGI’s Scientific Director, who opened the event on the 8th, together with Gustavo Assi, Director of Diffusion of Knowledge.

Gustavo Assi, Director of Diffusion of Knowledge


Meneghini also stressed the importance of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for the world to be able to achieve the emissions reduction goals stipulated in Paris during the last Climate Conference. “Petroleum, natural gas, and coal represent, respectively, 31.1%, 21.4%, and 28.9% of the world’s energy matrix. Even if we quintuple the use of biofuels, that would not be enough to meet the agreed-upon climate goals. That is why CCS technologies are so important.”

Júlio Meneghini, RCGI’s Scientific Director


What’s new – Also during the opening moments of the event, Meneghini presented the 16 projects of a new RCGI programme dedicated to issues involving the reduction of CO2 emissions (See the list of new projects here).

“With this fourth programme, the current 150 RCGI researchers will be joined by another one hundred, including Professors and post-Doctoral students, as well as PhD., Masters, and undergraduate science students. And we will triple our budget,” Meneghini stated.

Guilherme Rocha, Manager of Press Relations for Shell in Brazil, and Camila Brandão, representing the Shell Executive Committee at RCGI, reminded that the Centre’s researchers have access to resources that other institutions around the country would find it difficult to provide.

Guilherme Rocha, Manager of Press Relations for Shell in Brazil


“We have US$ 40 million per year to invest in this partnership with you. But the University must take part in all of the phases of the technology chain for petroleum and natural gas, where the goal is to develop a new product and place it on the market,” Camila explained.

Camila Brandão, representing the Shell Executive Committee at RCGI


After the opening moments and taking stock of this first period of research, as presented by Human Resources and Leadership Director Karen Mascarenhas, Professor Rita Maria de Brito Alves began presenting the ten projects belonging to the Physical-Chemistry Programme. One new feature is that the device for supersonic separation of CO2 and CH4, which was previously a part of Project 19 and also includes the creation of ceramic membranes, will now be developed in one of the 16 new Projects in RCGI’s portfolio.

On the second day of the event, the results were presented of the Engineering Programme, coordinated by Professor Emílio Silva, and of Energy Policies and Economics Programme, led by Professor Edmilson Moutinho. Researchers in this Programme commented on their participation in the International Gas Union Research Conference (IGRC), in May, in Rio de Janeiro. Some 13 articles by the group were approved for presentation at the event, and six of them were chosen to be given orally.

In the Engineering Programme, the biggest news comes from Project 29 (Development of a Penta Fuel Flex Vehicle), now under the guidance of the team led by Professor Clayton B. Zabeu, of the Mauá Institute of Technology (IMT). “We are describing the functioning of the engine through the use of Big Data. At this time, we have a list of 60 variables that provide a wide range of information regarding the car,” said Daniel de Oliveira Mota, one of the IMT team.

Professor Rita Maria de Brito Alves


Professor Emílio Silva


Professor Edmilson Moutinho


Media Training – On the last day of the event, RCGI members took part in media training given by the Director of Acadêmica Agência de Comunicação, José Roberto Ferreira. Acadêmica is the agency that provides press relations services to RCGI. The initiative stirred excellent discussions. Professor Luís Venturi, coordinator of Project 28, whose research results regarding the energy vulnerability of the City of São Paulo were announced in the press, praised the initiative.

Director of Acadêmica Agência de Comunicação, José Roberto Ferreira


“I would like us to go even deeper into this subject, with individual media training, including simulated interviews and an evaluation of our performance by Acadêmica. This type of approach is necessary and opportune for those who, like myself, are not accustomed to dealing with media vehicles, reporters, and journalists.”

Since the founding of RCGI, the Centre has been covered in 133 news reports in the press – fruit of the publicity work done with all of the projects of the three Programmes that existed during that time.

Professor Ricardo Esparta, of Project 23, remembered that the issue of disseminating research news to the press is a big challenge. “We don’t have this culture. We recognize the importance of knowing how to deal with the press and of ‘becoming news’, but we do not have a communication culture. This is a challenge for the academic community.”