FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Engenharia Mecânica

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos de Fenómenos de Transporte [MECH-Norte-Porto-532] visitada em 02/04/2008

Classificação: Excellent

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This is an interesting and accomplished research group with high-quality research as well as practical industrial achievements.
This unit consists of a team of 11 main researchers with PhDs and 18 other researchers without PhDs whose major research areas are: energy, membrane separation processes and multiphase flows and non-Newtonian fluid mechanics and microfluidics. These topics are all relevant and likely to have an impact at the international level. The group has been extremely productive, with a high number of students graduated, a large number of publications in peer-review journals of high quality and involvement in the organization of symposia and conference scientific committees. The only issue is that the high productivity seems to be generated by a small number of very active researchers within the team. More participation in EC RTD Programs might benefit the unit’s progress.
Transnational companies establishing new research and commercial activities in Portugal in the field of PEMFC should be important to boost the group dedication in this field.
The mission of this single-group unit is to conduct basic research, train high-quality investigators competitive at the international level and bridge the gap between research and technical development/innovation in the field of transport phenomena and fluid mechanics.
Chemical as well as Mechanical engineers co-reside under this research unit umbrella.
The international contacts, particularly with MIT and VKI, seem to be actively pursued through stays of some unit students and investigators at these institutions.
The unit publication record is excellent, well above FEUP average and with a large number of citations. In view that the high productivity is being generated by a small number of very active researchers only, the review team encourages the unit’s leaders to mentor and involve other researchers. The participation in the organization of international conferences is moderate.
Research results on a domestic water heater have been marketed by Vulcano-Bosch. However, not much tech transfer seems in sight, apart from the gas "World One" water heater.
Most of the important funding of this unit, significantly higher than the FEUP average, comes from FCT.
The kinetic data for the combustion of pine char in fluidised beds could probably be obtained, with higher precision, in a simple laminar flow reactor. The combination of experimental tests with tailored MEAS and simple one-dimensional models seem to be a rational strategy. The investigation on slug flow regime in vertical columns seems to reflect the state of the art. The same can be said about the research on separation processes. The experimental and computational activity on non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics and Micro-fluidics is apparently structured in the correct manner.
The productivity and international relevance of this research is very high. The unit can be very competitive in the international context and should be encouraged to seek international funds either from the EC (FP7), from industry or both. The present dependence on FCT funding is excessive for a high-quality group such as this. Networking at the European level should be stressed. The training record is excellent.
The unit is working in a scientifically challenging field, with a broad-band spectrum of applications of high-added value to Portuguese industry. One should expect more technology transfer taking place.
The investigators should be more proactive in selling their know-how and should extend their collaboration with several industrial sectors. AGNI might be an ideal industrial partner for the unit work on fuel cells.
The manufacturing facility for microfluidics would benefit from networking with one of the many centres for microsystems in Europe (e.g., Freiburg in Germany, IMEC in Belgium, Neuchatel or EPFL in Switzerland, etc...). Proprietary designs could be protected by NDAs
Sobre os grupos de investigação
FT - Fenómenos de Transporte (Transport Phenomena) [RG-MECH-Norte-Porto-532-1325]