Danyela Samaniego| Doutorada SSE
My decision to join the Energy for Sustainability Initiative (EfS) came along with the purpose of extending the research topic carried out during my master; which was about "Measurement of the levels of exposure to concentrated solar radiation in a solar energy central tower installation for the estimation of risks to human health". The results obtained from the case- study increased the motivation of analyzing the interconnection between solar energy and occupational health & safety. During the master, I became aware of methodologies for assessing the level of risk on eye, skin and the nervous system due to solar radiation exposures. In the search for opportunities in this area, I came across with a researcher and the doctoral program on Sustainable Energy Systems (SES) under the framework of the MIT Portugal and the Energy for Sustainability Initiative at UC. The EfS researcher showed high interest on the topic and I was very welcomed and supported by the EfS community.
During the MIT Doctoral program on SES, which strengthened my knowledge in renewable energy systems, I worked in collaboration with my supervisors on the research entitled as “Occupational and safety issues of workers in central tower solar energy facilities". The thesis project provided relevant information about cumulative and momentary solar radiation exposures on the skin, the level of impact in the eye due to diffuse and specular solar radiation exposures, as well as, the level of heat stress experienced by solar workers. The research outcome was the contribution of relevant information that possibly could improve/develop procedures directed toward the occupational health and safety within the solar energy industry. The approach was entirely focused on the proper usage of the "green" technologies developed as alternatives for power generation.
My experience at the EfS initiative was very enriching! Not only because of its diversity in science backgrounds, multicultural ambient and applied well-practices, but I also had the opportunity to experience two research-periods abroad on an experimental solar facility in Mexico. The EfS, as an interdisciplinary initiative, allowed me to work with bright researchers and professors with diverse backgrounds which turns out to be an inspiring experience. I consider that the initiative is always supportive of research dissemination in all possible ways and the skills learned truly contributed to research development through dedication, objectivity, and quality.