PhD on waste management


I am Bruna Virgínia, a Forest Engineer with a master's in Forest Science – Wood technology. I am currently a PhD student at the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV). My research is about waste management, where we try to find a more sustainable solution for the “waste” generated by industries. The main focus during my master's and also in the first two chapters of my PhD is the production of renewable fuel using sludge from the effluent treatment plant of a pulp and paper mill in Brazil. We produced pellets, a densified solid fuel that can be burned in boilers to generate thermal energy. 


Why did you choose for an internship in the Netherlands?

The program of Environmental Science for Sustainable Energy and Technology is a top-rated program, proving to be a benchmark in economic development aligned with sustainability. In addition, important partnerships between Avans Hogeschool and UFV have already been successfully established through the Living Lab project. I believe that being at Avans with the MNEXT and working with excellent professionals from different fields would contribute a lot to the progress of my PhD work, and at the same time, I would be able to learn with the current projects that are being developed here. 


What is the subject? Can you tell us something more about it? 

In Brazil we have already tested the technical feasibility of producing pellets using pulp and paper mill sludge. Now here at Avans, with the MNEXT, we will test the environmental feasibility of this process through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA study). In addition, we are investigating new production routes to apply the sludge, transforming it into a more valuable product.


How did preparations go before your trip? 

There were a lot of bureaucratic issues to solve before the trip, the visa, finding a house in Netherlands, airplane tickets, and choosing the best day to arrive. The International Office from Avans was very helpful with this. I also had a lot of meetings with the researchers of MNEXT to find the best way to integrate my Ph.D. project in Brazil with the works that are being developed here.


What tips do you have for students who want to go to Netherlands?

The weather in the Netherlands is very different from what I was used to, so I would say be prepared for a little rain. Knowing how to ride a bike also helps a lot, because that's probably the best way to get around the city. In addition, don't be afraid to ask a Dutch person anything. You can talk to them in English and they will be happy to help you


Extra information:

The duration of the PhD in Brazil is usually 4 years. There is a Brazilian program, called Sandwich PhD, where the researcher does a part of their work in a foreign country in partnership with other universities, the duration can vary according to the work, usually between 6 months and 1 year. This program contributes to the exchange of knowledge between different countries and can aggregate in different ways in the work that is being developed. I am part of this program, and I chose Avans as the destination institution, and now I will be a guest researcher here for 1 year as part of my PhD. 



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