Technology, Energy and Natural Resources: New Paths to Sustainability

Cooperation Project 4

Coordinator: Prof. Eduardo Cassel

theme3-project4Society’s sustainable development includes the rational use of natural resources, the production of products from renewable sources. This optimizes energy consumption and minimizes environmental impact. Agriculture, energy production and industry make use of natural resources as raw materials in their processes. As a consequence, new technologies are developed as polymerization processes employing natural phenolic compounds and energy production processes, such as biogas, that employs organic waste to generate electrical energy and extraction processes applied to plants (biodiversity) resulting in compounds from biological activities. In this context, the cooperation activities between PUCRS and the Center of Environmental Sciences – CSIC (Spain) is worth mentioning. The projects involving these institutions have resulted in patents, publications and training of human resources.

Besides, knowledge about transport and sediment disposal through mathematical models can generate tools that minimize the damages produced in the processing of raw materials such as metals and petroleum, which have an important environmental impact. In this regard, the cooperation activities between PUCRS and the Imperial College London (UK) have been very productive as a number of articles has been published, training programs have been developed and mobility of researchers has taken place. Energy consumption is a criterion for defining the viability of new technologies. In the metal-mechanical industry, the use of cast alloy products has led to significant energy reduction. In addition to that, the area of information technology is concerned with the development of virtualization techniques to minimize energy consumption of computer systems and thus, make use of machines for the rational use of resources.

The development of technologies to capture CO2 has a direct relationship to environmental sustainability as we are aware that the optimization of productive processes and minimization of energy consumption are not always enough to reduce the production of greenhouse-gases. The cooperation activities between PUCRS and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier (France) are very strategic as they foster the development of actions in this area and have resulted in several publications, joint degrees and researcher mobility. As it brings technology and biodiversity together, sustainability is the driving force of the projects based on the studies on the rational use of natural resources, the reduction of environmental impact and the optimization of energy consumption presented above.

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