I’m working toward a cleaner world every day

Msc Marcelo Marcelo de Andrade Oliviera, employee

PhD student at the Combustion Technology Division of the department Mechanical Engineering

More effective and thus cleaner combustion processes. Since 2007 Marcelo de Andrade Oliveira has been researching this field at TU/e. The 35 year-old Brazilian is one of the 23 PhD-candidates working in the Combustion Technology Division of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He feels at home at TU/e. ‘High-quality research in a friendly, open amenable atmosphere: you don’t find that just anywhere.’  

“Where would I like to be working in a couple of years’ time?” Marcelo de Andrade Oliveira (35), Brazilian by birth and working at TU Eindhoven as a PhD-candidate at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, pauses to consider this question. Then he replies: “If it were up to me, I’d be working as a researcher in an organization where I could build on my research into combustion processes. I wouldn’t mind whether that’s a company or a university. As long the work environment was pleasant and international. And ambitious people were working there on innovative solutions. And personal development was valued and fostered. This might be expressed, for example, by a focus on communication and social skills as well as technical knowledge.”

Little hierarchy
Marcelo considers himself fortunate to have found such a work environment at TU/e. The atmosphere in the department, and within the Combustion Technology Division, is ‘open’ and ‘friendly’, he explains. “What struck me most is how approachable the professors are. In almost all respects, they regard students and doctoral candidates as equal colleagues and they assess their ideas and opinions with an open mind. I’ve come across hardly any hierarchical structures here – I’m talking about both my division and TU/e as a whole. I know from experience that this isn’t the case in some other places in the world. Often professors are placed on a pedestal and thought of as ‘kings’. Thanks to the stimulating scientific climate here, I can recommend a period at TU/e to students and researchers alike.”

As a PhD-candidate in what is known as the Combustion Technology Division, Marcelo has been researching combustion processes since 2007. The pivotal question is how combustion processes can be made as effective and thus as clean as possible? In other words, with the minimum of polluting emissions. “What’s great about my discipline is that it enables me to work towards a better future,’ relates Marcelo. ‘Our results are contributing almost directly to cleaner fuels, in both the transport sector and in industry. In this way, I’m helping to create a better and more beautiful environment. I draw my inspiration largely from this idea.”

Quality of life
Combustion processes are found everywhere in daily life, explains Marcelo. This practical, tangible aspect of the research appeals to Marcelo. “It means that people can grasp what my research is about. I like that. It touches people in their daily lives, whether they are at home cooking, using factory-made products, or flying off on holiday somewhere; each instance involves a combustion process in which substances harmful to our environment are released. The search for innovative ways to reduce this emission, and thus to improve the quality of our lives, that’s what I contribute towards every day, and with pleasure.”

Two assets
Marcelo came to TU Eindhoven in 2007 having completed a course in Chemical Engineering at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife. He’s not regretted it for a minute. “TU/e has two great assets: it is an open, friendly and relatively small university in a city with the same nature, and it has a strong reputation as a leading technology university. I enjoy the international atmosphere, the fact that everyone here speaks great English, and the ambition. Take the Campus 2020 project, for example. High-quality research is conducted at other places around the world but the climate for working and living is nowhere as appealing as here in Eindhoven.”