CERENA-Centre for Natural Resources and the Environment was created in 2006, from the merging of three experienced research centres and groups of IST that were developing separately their activities in the areas of natural resources and the environment. The motivation to merge these complementary groups was related to the strong affinity in their research domains and to join synergies that lead to relevant improvements in the research conditions and on the increase of their relative performance. In 2013, CERENA decided to focus its strategy on the enlargement of the group in order to become a reference center in the three main areas of Energy, Raw Materials and Environment.
Hence, CERENA experienced a new expansion that resulted from the affinity and complementary competences of other Centers and groups of researchers, namely: CEPGIST (Centro de Petrologia e Geoquímica, IST/ULisboa), CPQ (Centro de Processos Químicos, IST/ULisboa), IBB (Instituto de Biolotecnologia e Bioengenharia, IST/ULisboa) and CIGAR (Centro de Geo-Ambiente e Recursos, FEUP) and also a Seismology Group of ICIST ( Instituto de Engenharia de Estruturas, Território e Construção do IST/ULisboa). All these R&D units were closed and this extinction will come into effect from January 2015, with the exception of ICIST.
The former configuration of CERENA was composed by three groups: GMPG – Modelling and Processing of Georesources Group, CMRP – Modeling of Petroleum Reservoirs Group, CEGEO – Geotechnics Group. Research carried on by these groups was specially focused on sciences and technologies for the characterization, evaluation and beneficiation of environmental and natural resources through the articulated and original use of specific methodologies (geophysics and geochemistry, geostatistics and multivariate data analysis, image analysis and pattern recognition, remote sensing and GIS, operations research, beneficiation processes), mineral resources exploitation, underground engineering works and the recovery of environmental systems. Lately, research efforts have included methodologies to characterize and mitigate Natural and Technological Hazards. These groups will be extinct in the new configuration of CERENA and their competences will be incorporated in the new groups. CERENA is coordinated by the President, supported by the Executive Committee composed by two members and by the Scientific Committee that includes all researchers with PhD. The scientific activity is advised by an External Advisory Committee formed by three researchers (Full Professors).
CEPGIST is a R&D Unit of Instituto Superior Técnico, providing research, training, advising, and consulting to the community. CEPGIST is structured into three research groups, where water-rock interaction is the recurring subject: (1) WATERPROTECT, Thermo-mineral water resources assessment and protection dedicated to understand water-rock interactions and to update knowledge on the inter-relations climate, hydrology and groundwater resources; (2) DECASTONE, Weathering and weatherability of rocks ascribed to monument stone decay and geotechnical applications; (3) ENVIGEO, Environmental geochemistry, emphasized on the multidisciplinary studies development related with Medical Geology, Environmental Geology and Ore Deposits.
CIGAR is a R&D Unit of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto – FEUP (Portugal). It was created in 2003 with the objective of formalizing and framing research previously carried out within the Mining Engineering Department and other institutions. CIGAR research is focused in two main areas: the Geo-Environmental area is specialized in the remediation of soils and groundwater not only in fundamental concepts but also in the application of new technologies in the field; and the Geo-Resources field research is mainly focused on ore processing, specifically in the area of phenomenological modelling and simulation of unit operations using dynamic population balances. Multidisciplinary approaches were used that involved the incorporation of basic sciences and technologies such as geophysics, geochemistry, geostatistics, chemodynamics, chemical technology, physics and microbiology, besides advanced fields of applied mathematics such as signal treatment and modelling of distributed parameter systems.
The CPQ is a R&D unit of Instituto Superior Técnico, dedicated to develop activity in the domains of Process Integration and Optimization and Process Separation. The activities of CPQ were developed within two research groups: “Integration and Optimization of Processes” and “Separation Processes and Environment”. Funding obtained through several consortiums with industry and Innovation Agency (AdI) allowed achieving several goals such as new industrial processes based on a Pilot Plant setup purchase and assembled in 2008. This pilot plant includes units of liquid-liquid extraction and filtration. They are prepared to be fully operating to accomplish several projects with Industry supported by AdI. Several studies on Industrial Plants were carried out to improve the global Energy Efficiency of those sites. Fundamental research on Sustainability Analysis of Industrial Processes and studies on Crystallization of composite substances using supercritical fluids were also developed.
IBB is an associated laboratory with research groups comprising competences in the fields of biotechnology and chemical and biological engineering. The IST branch of IBB was composed by four groups and the researchers from IBB that are joining CERENA were part of the Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Group and the Energy and Environment Engineering Group. These researchers are mainly chemical engineers working in the field of catalysis, on environmental applications using biotechnological processes and on chemical processes in general. There is a high synergy among the two groups of IBB whose competences include a heavy component of experimental work, a high level of collaboration with industrial partners and a multi-scale approach to the problems– the processes are dealt with from the molecular level, resorting to quantum chemical molecular modelling, to laboratory scale and finally up to the industrial scale. The approaches are also supported by extensive expertise in mathematical modeling of physical and chemical processes. The researchers of IBB that are associating themselves to CERENA have also initiated a collaboration with researchers that are currently in the latter for the application of chemical engineering methodologies to develop innovative methods for oil production, with the Oil&Gas initiative at IST.
CERENA integrated in January 2013 a group of researchers formerly at ICIST, who develop their research at the Laboratory of Seismology created under FCT’s National Scientific Reequipment Program of 2002.Their indicators will not be included in this evaluation since ICIST was not extinct.