The Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI) exists since 1913. It is among the 10 best universities in Brazil according to the National University ranking. Currently, UNIFEI has more than 6,000 students from different countries, including around 900 graduate students. The professorial staff is around 400. UNIFEI is located in Itajubá city in the South of the Minas Gerais State.
The University has two campuses and seven academic Faculties (Institutes) including a Mechanical Engineering Institute. There are five research groups working on Energy issues and running PhD courses in Electrical, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and also 11 Master Degree Courses with a MSc course in Energy Engineering being one of them.
One of the UNIFEI´s research groups in Energy area is the Excellence Group in Thermal Power and Distributed Generation – NEST, that was created on March 7, 1998. It currently consists of 40 researchers including 7 Professors, 3 technicians and 30 graduate students. One of the researchers at NEST / UNIFEI has a researcher level grading 1B of the Brazilian National Research Council.

Research Topics

The main research lines of the group are: use of biomass energy (combustion, small scale electricity generation and biofuels production), energy conversion of waste (vinasse and garbage), thermal power generation and cogeneration, design and testing of turbomachinery, technologies for distributed generation (internal combustion engines, microturbines, Stirling engines and fuel cells), refrigeration and air conditioning, modeling and diagnostics of thermal processes, solar thermal energy, hybrid systems, environmental aspects of energy use (emission control, Life Cycle Analysis).
During last 17 years, Professors of the group supervised 48 dissertations, 11 doctoral theses and 4 postdoctoral internships. Currently there are 19 Master’s and 11 Doctorate reserach works are ongoing. 48 articles were published in high imact international journals along with 10 textbooks and monograhs. 12 funded R&D projects have been completed, 7 are in progress and 1 in the contract signing pstage. The main collaborative partners are CEMIG, FINEP, CNPq, CENPES/Petrobras, AES, CT Sugarcane (formerly COPERSUCAR) and CPFL. In addition, six new laboratories were created at the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of UNIFEI.

Project Role

UNIFEI will be responsible for completion of part of WP 2 – Development and finalisation of the structure and Curriculum of modules in Renewable Energy Engineering and their implementation.
Additional tasks for UNIFEI will be:

  • To support Project Coordinator in Project execution and monitoring the progress;
  • To work on the Project Network development in Brazil;
  • To take part in the modernisation and enhancing of the structure and syllabus of the selected modules on Renewable Energy on Bachelor and Master levels and distance improvement of Skills Development of PhD students doing research in Renewable Energy Area.
  • To work on setting up teaching laboratories and deriving the Laboratory work notes;
  • To implement the teaching process;
  • To implement quality assurance plan for all teaching methods and processes;
  • To actively participate in promotion and dissemination of project activities and results on local, national and international levels.

People (staff members)

Prof. Electo Silva Lora is a Professor of the NEST Research Group. He has 34 years of teaching experience in Biomass Energy conversion, Power Plant Technology and Renewable Energy in undergraduate and graduate courses. He is the coordinator of the Research Group NEST and of the Master Degree Course of Energy Engineering. He has more than 80 publications in International Journals, 14 books and 33 book chapters.

Dr. Osvaldo Venturini is the NEST research group Vice Coordinator. He has 13 years of experience in teaching thermodynamics, power plant technologies and refrigeration technologies modules in the Master Degree Course in Energy Engineering. His research is related to turbomachinery, solar and conventional refrigeration, thermal power schemes optimization and geothermal energy. He has 19 papers published in international journals, 3 books and 18 book chapters.

Dr. Jose Carlos Escobar Palacio is a NEST group member. He has 4 years of experience in teaching thermodynamics and Renewable Energy technologies modules as part of Bachelor courses and in the Master Degree Course in Energy Engineering. His research is related to thermoeconomics, cogeneration, biorefineries, wastes energy conversion and life cycle assessment of energy systems. He has 6 papers published in international journals and 5 book chapters.

Dr. Vladimir Melian Cobas is a member of the Research Group NEST. He has 7 years of experience in teaching thermodynamics and power plant technologies and modules in the Master Degree Course in Energy Engineering. His research is related to fuel cells, smart grids, Stirling and internal combustion engines and gasification. He has 10 papers published in international journals and 4 book chapters.

Dr. Rubenildo Vieira Andrade is a member of the Research Group NEST. He has 4 years of experience in teaching Combustion Technologies in the Master Degree Course in Energy Engineering. His research is related to biomass gasification. He has 11 papers published in international journals and 5 book chapters.