15th edition of the International Gas Union Research Conference (IGRC) takes place in Rio de Janeiro, in May; more than 20 researchers from RCGI will attend.

Evaluate the perspectives for the country’s liquid natural gas market, the environmental impacts of projects in this area or their role in promoting energy efficiency in industry and in the transportation of cargos and passengers: these are some of the subjects that researchers from the FAPESP-Shell Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI) will take to the International Gas Union Research Conference (IGRC), which will take place May 24 to 26, in Rio de Janeiro.

As one of the most important technical events of the natural gas industry, IGRC is an itinerant conference held every three years in a different country. This year, the encounter organized by the International Gas Union (IGU), in association with the Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute (IBP), will be held in pavilion 5 of Rio Centro (Barra da Tijuca). The subject of this edition is “Natural Gas: catalyzing the future”, In line with the various energy policy initiatives under development at the Ministry of Mines and Energy (Gas for Growth Program) and in the State of São Paulo.

The event highlights scientific research, technology development, and innovation as key strategies for the high potential future path for the growth of the u se of natural gas in Brazil and around the world. The conference will map out the technological trends of the natural gas industry, which are essential pillars for the sector’s development.

“The conference is a large debate forum, which will be attended by national and international gas industry representatives. For us, it is an important opportunity not only to publish and display our studies, but also to network and get to know people better from all over the world who develop research projects that are similar to those under development at RCGI,” states attorney Hirdan Katarina de Medeiros Costa. At RCGI, She coordinates the preparation of the first digital repository of Brazilian legislation regarding natural gas (Project 21). Furthermore, she has coauthored six of the 13 articles that the teams from RCGI’s Economy and Energy Policies Program will present at IGRC 2017.

“I believe that taking part in the event can help to make known the legal database about natural gas that we are building, on a digital platform, In RCGI’s Project 21. Not to mention that, via contacts with other researchers and professionals in this work, we can update our survey of the main questions regarding regulations for the natural gas sector in Brazil and abroad,” she says.

Another five coordinators of RCGI projects will be at the conference in Rio de Janeiro: Professors and researchers Edmilson Moutinho, Ricardo Esparta, Osvaldo Lucon, and Alberto Fossa, of the Energy and Environmental Institute of USP (IEE/USP); and Professor Luís Antônio Bittar Venturi, of the College of Philosophy, Letters, and Humanities of the University of São Paulo (FFLCH- USP).

Among the participating institutions are the Gas Technology Institute (USA), the Appliance Company Panasonic Corporation and the Tokyo Gas Co. (Japan), the National Iranian Gas Company (Iran), and the Fachverband Biogas (Germany), plus Brazil’s Energy Research Company (EPE) and the Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute of Graduate Studies in Engineering Research of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (COPPE/UFRJ).

Presentations – Six of the 13 articles of RCGI’s Economy and Energy Policies Program, approved for the event, will be presented orally by one of their authors, and the others will be displayed on posters. According to Edmilson Moutinho, the participation of so many RCGI researchers in the conference confirms and emphasizes the importance of R&D as necessary for natural gas to play a significant role in the energy matrix of the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and the world, as foreseen in long-term projections studied and proposed by RCGI’s Project 23 team.

“The articles produced by our research teams present relevant thinking for energy policies and for the development of the natural gas market in Brazil and worldwide,” Moutinho points out. According to him, Brazil has an opportunity at hand with the increased domestic production, after the huge offshore pre-salt discoveries. “But we need to find innovative uses for natural gas on the domestic market. I believe that a more intensive and innovative use will allow the country to raise its standards of industrial competitiveness, and in terms of energy and environmental sustainability.

According to Ricardo Esparta, one of the coordinators of RCGI’s Project 23, the main challenge to be discussed is the role of natural gas in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil. “There are still many questions regarding that role, since the global environmental impacts of natural gas can only be assessed from an integrated perspective and with knowledge of the interactions of the gas with the other resources in the national and regional energy mix. That systemic interpretation requires the development of long-term models, as proposed in our Project 23, as well as extensive exchanges of information with other researchers.” Researchers from Project 23, which simulates and models the emissions scenarios related to natural gas, will be attending the Conference.

Thiago Brito, coauthor of the article “GHG mitigation due to the introduction of CNG and Energy Efficiency Measures in cargo transportation in Brazil”, says that the mass participation of the members of RCGI in RCGI 2017 is vital, for two reasons. “First, in order to establish ourselves as a center of reference for the study of natural gas within USP and in the minds of representatives of international industry. Potential new partners will know who to go to when they need a scientific basis for their activities and they will recognize us at other congresses.

The second reason is the possibility of having closer contact with the realities of the players in this industry. This is a material and solid effort towards greater university/business proximity. Relations with the industry are essential in all of the segments of the applied sciences. This allows researchers to have access to data, as well as a certain validation of the analyses and models. Based on my own experience, I saw that the large serious business groups that have a strategic and technological vision always give a good reception to, and respect, the positions of academic representatives.”

The article mentioned here, which will be presented orally by Brito, is the fruit of RCGI’s Project 25 and deals with how measures for energy efficiency, together with a more intense use of GNV, can contribute to the reduction of energy consumption and of CO2 emissions by cargo-carrying vehicles.