Travel experience exceeded expectations says PhD candidate

Nelia Jurado entering Canmet facilities

Author: Nelia Jurado, PhD candidate, Cranfield University
Nelia Jurado was part of a larger International Student Exchange operated in 2013 by CMC, the UK CCS Research Centre, the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies, and the Stanford Centre for Carbon Storage. In total, 16 students took part in the program (9 Canadian, 4 Australian and 3 British).

I am Nelia Jurado, and I am in the final stage of my PhD at Cranfield University. Last year I was awarded a travel fund by UKCCSRC in collaboration with CMC to do a placement of four weeks at CanmetENERGY, Ottawa. Ben Anthony, the leader of the Combustion and CCS Centre at Cranfield, had previously worked at CanmetENERGY, and I thought it would be a good complement for my PhD trying to do a placement in an organization which has a strong international reputation in carbon capture technologies.

Vertical combuster at CanmetENERGY

During my master’s thesis at the School of Engineering in Seville, my hometown, I used the publications from Canmet as my main references. That is why, when I heard about this call, I didn’t hesitate on asking for it, as this was a great opportunity for me to do some testing using their 300kW vertical oxy-combustor.

My PhD has consisted of studying the oxy-combustion process using coal and biomass blends by carrying out experimental tests in the 100kW retrofitted oxy-combustor located at Cranfield University, and also through the design of a kinetic model in Aspen Plus. This model is able to predict the outcomes for mass and energy balances when varying operating parameters, such as the composition of the pulverised fuel, percentage of recycled flue gas or type of recycling (dry or wet).

The aim of the placement was to compare the data set produced in the Canmet oxy-combustor with that obtained at Cranfield, to see the effect of scaling up the process. Also I think that it is always very enriching to work with other research groups to see how they prepare and carry out their tests.

After spending a month working at the facility, I can say that the experience exceeded my expectations. From a professional point of view I have been able to meet researchers whose work I have followed for several years. I would like to acknowledge the good disposition, from researchers and technicians, being always willing to help and trying for me to make the most of my placement, so to come back home with lots of experimental data. At this point I would like to mention the help given by Kousrosh Zanganeh, Carlos Salvador, Ashkan Beigzadeh and Ahmed Shafeen. Also it has been great to meet Arturo Macchi who was the link between CMC and CanmetENERGY. I strongly believe that this has been an excellent opportunity to meet researchers, which I could collaborate with in my future professional career.

But, it has not been only work. I have been able to enjoy Canada, especially Ottawa as it is a very nice city. It has plenty of cultural life: concerts, museums, natural parks, etc. Plus you can visit the amazing Niagara Falls if you go for a long weekend or have a taste of the French zone visiting Montreal. Living downtown in Ottawa has let me enjoy of a very lively city, which surprised me for its cleanliness and the amount of green areas and French gardens that it has. Also, the kindness of the Canadian people, worldwide known, which I have been able to corroborate, as everyone that I have asked for help, he /she has given it with a smile.

In summary, I am very thankful to UKCCSRC and CMC for giving this opportunity which has been very positive from the professional and the personal points of view.