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EfS Experiences | Student | Nelson Soares

Publication date: 25-02-2013 11:10


Nelson Soares

I am currently studying for a PhD degree under the Sustainable Energy Systems doctoral program of the MIT-Portugal international collaboration. In my research I study renewable energy based applications of phase change materials in construction solutions towards the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings.

The debate on climate change and, on the other hand, the certainty of fossil fuels depletion in the near future, have put energy consumption profiles, carbon emissions, the need for new and more demanding regulations and security of supplies, at the heart of economic discussions. It is clear that the research areas of Energy and Sustainability will be of the utmost importance in the future, be it, particularly, for their applications to the buildings' sector, be it for their presence in almost all other areas of our everyday life. This is exciting for a researcher and I can't think of any reason to not want to take part in it.

I have first come across with the importance of sustainable construction and energy efficiency of buildings during my master's in Civil Engineering at the University of Coimbra. I also became conscious then that the old ways of looking at our buildings just won't do. We need to answer the old challenge of managing energy systems with a new dynamic approach, involving new ideas and an efficient multidisciplinary effort. 

My master's degree in Energy for Sustainability by the University of Coimbra was a very exciting adventure in a multidisciplinary school program. It has broadened my horizons in many ways but especially by making me knowledgeable of the emerging field of engineering dynamic systems. It also allowed me to extend my skills and research experience towards the analysis of the integration of engineering, energy, economics and environmental systems. This, together with the subjects taught in the master's program, gave me an excellent background to start a PhD degree in this field. 

During my master I have met outstanding professors from several areas of expertise. This was very enriching for me, both personally and professionally. The master's in Energy for Sustainability was also an unique opportunity to set up many scientific relationships based on friendship and trust.