The visit came just a few days after the launch of the Brazil – United Kingdom Joint Year of Science and Innovation, which took place at the end of March at the MCTIC
The Chief Secretary of the Treasury of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth Truss, visited the headquarters of the FAPESP Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI), on Wednesday, April 11, in the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP), in São Paulo. She was accompanied by a retinue of five people, which included HM Consul General and Regional Director of Trade and Investment for Latin America of the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in São Paulo, Joanna Crellin, in attendance at a presentation of the Centre’s activities, made by its Scientific Director, Julio Meneghini.
The visit came just a few days after the launch of the Brazil – United Kingdom Joint Year of Science and Innovation, in a ceremony held at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Communication (MCTIC). At that event, the Newton Fund, a British initiative for promoting the development of nations through science and technology, announced new investments in research in several areas, including climate change.
During the meeting at the RCGI, the British Secretary asked a number of questions regarding the Centre’s Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects and she also heard brief remarks by the Scientific Director of the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP), Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, regarding the Foundation’s partnerships with the United Kingdom, and by Camila Brandão, one of the Shell representatives attending the meeting.
When presenting the Centre’s objectives, Meneghini spent some time, at the end on several projects of the RCGI’s portfolio, such as carbon storage in salt caverns and the development of a supersonic gas separator. He explained that the pre-salt petroleum exploration is a great opportunity for Brazil, and that the amount of CO2 existing in the reservoirs demands innovative scientific solutions for the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. “Helping to think about and provide these solutions is one of the goals of our Centre,” he stated.
One of the questions asked by Ms. Truss had to do with the economic viability of the CCS projects and the possibility of innovative projects, like the storage of CO2 in salt caverns, being applied on a large scale. “I would say that Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that is at the point of making it economically viable to store CO2 in salt caverns. A single cavern can store up to 8 million tons of CO2,” Meneghini told her.
The RCGI’s Scientific Director also stressed the importance of the State of São Paulo for the Nation, the strength of its scientific production, and the relevance of the University of São Paulo (USP) within this context. “São Paulo has the biggest economy of the Brazilian States: 35% of the country’s industrial production comes from here. About 11% of all of the taxes of the State are distributed to Universities and research institutions. USP, which is a public university, has about 6,000 professors, nearly 90,000 students in graduate and post-graduate programs and it is responsible for one quarter of the Nation’s scientific production,” he said, pointing out that Brazil is now 13th in the world in scientific production – ahead of the Netherlands and Russia.
After the meeting, Ms. Truss and her retinue visited the Numerical Offshore Tank (TPN) of Poli-USP, guided by Professor Kazuo Nishimoto, Coordinator of the TPN, as well as the RCGI’s CO2 abatement program.
Besides Joanna Crellin, Ms. Truss’s retinue included the Deputy Director of Science and Innovation of the British Consulate in São Paulo, Rui Lopes; the special counsel to the Secretary of the Treasury for Enterprise and Growth, Philip Duffy; the press officer, Jason Stein; and her personal secretary, Helena Bennett.
At the meeting, USP’s Provost, Vahan Agopyan, was presented by the Deputy Dean for Research, Emma Otta. The Mobility Director of the USP Agency for National and International Academic Cooperation (AUCANI), Marcio Lobo Netto, was also present, as well as several members of the RCGI. Also participated Karen Mascarenhas, who is RCGI’s Director of Leadership and Human Resources; and Alexandre Breda, who represents Shell on the RCGI’s Advisory Board.