Biofuels in Brazil

Below is one of my journal entries from the trip. I think that is the best way to show you what an average day on the International Experience trip resembles.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I woke up this morning to breakfast at CPV, the Casa dos Profesores Visitantes or the House for Visiting Professors, on UNICAMP campus. Each morning breakfasts consists of the choice between a variety of fruit, mini-pastries, cereal, some eggs and sausage, and sometimes plantains. There is also always an entire box dedicated to pao de quiejo, Brazilian cheese bread.

We board the bus headed to the Chemical Engineering buildings for our Portuguese lecture. The portuguese tutors are really energetic and eager to teach. Today’s topic was “shopping.” We learned the basic necessary phrases for us to be able to shop on our own. (Check back later to see WashU students speaking Portuguese after just two weeks!)

The next two lectures were given by WashU’s own Professor Tang on “Bio-ethanol” and Ricardo Baldassin, a PhD student at UNICAMP, who presented on “Experience on Sugarcane Pyrolysis in Brazil.” It was especially interesting to compare Professor Tang’s research from experience in the USA versus Ricardo’s research in Brazil.

For lunch we went to the closest dining hall for our daily serving of rice, beans, bread, salad, and a different meat!

Field trip: Today, to accompany Ricardo’s lecture on pyrolysis, we took a field trip to an on campus Pyrolysis Lab. He proceeded to tour us around the lab and show us the models constructed thus far. Throughout the week we visited Petrobras, Braskem, a sugarcane mill, Buckman, and this pyrolysis lab to name a few places.

We had dinner with the three professors here from WashU and the entire group at a local restaurant.

At 9pm we went to our second SAMBA lesson! We had a good time trying to learn the basic steps alone and in partners. Our instructor brought his wife to the class to demonstrate, they were fantastic together!