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INTRODUCTION

Excellence Group in Thermal Power and Distributed Generation – NEST
 NEST was created on March 7, 1998, and is affiliated to the Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Itajubá - UNIFEI. It is one of the groups of excellence supported by the Energy Company of Minas Gerais - Cemig. Currently, NEST is composed of more than 35 researchers, including 5 Ph.D, 13 Master Degree researchers and 5 of them Professors.

The main research lines of the group are: Thermal Power Generation and Cogeneration, Gas and Steam Turbines Technologies for Distributed Generation (Internal Combustion Engines, Microturbines, Stirling Engines and Fuel Cells), Energy Utilization of Biomass (Combustion, Gasification and CHP), Wastes Bio-methanization (Vinasse and Municipal Solid Wastes), Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Modeling and Diagnostics of Thermal Processes, Lifecycle Assessment of the Production of Biofuels and Waste Energy Utilization. Over the past two years, NEST started working on new themes, such as, "Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Solar Energy", "Hybrid Systems", "Solar Refrigeration" and "Geothermal Energy".

NEST has 6 laboratories: “Gas Turbines and Biomass Gasification”, “Steam and Diesel Thermal Systems”, “Advanced Distributed Generation Systems”, “Air Conditioning and Refrigeration”, “Process Simulation and Thermal Systems” and the “Laboratory for the Training of Power Plants Operators in Simulators”. In the coming months should be created the “Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Laboratory”.

Are in process of building the new NEST facilities composed of a laboratory shed and a four floor building with a total area of 1887m2. The new headquarters of NEST / IEM / UNIFEI has the financing of two PETROBRAS infrastructure projects.

In 15 years of Nest existence, professors group members supervized 48 master degree dissertations, 11 Ph.D theses and 3 post-doctoral stays. Currently are in progress, 16 master degree dissertations and 11 Ph.D theses. In this period were published 67 articles in international journals and 12 books. With respect to R&D projects, have been completed 17 and currently 7 are in progress, with partners such as: CEMIG, FINEP, CNPq, CENPES, Bandeirante, Tractebel Energia, Petrobras, CPFL, AES, Arcelor Mittal, UK Royal Society, CAPES and FAPEMIG.

One of the most important activities of NEST is the continuous education in their areas of expertise. Until now, more than 120 courses  were taught for a total of over 1800 students. Furthermore, NEST has the collaboration of several foreign universities, such as the Washington State University (United States), Northumbria University (UK), the Delft University (Netherlands), the  National Polytechnic University of Odessa (Ukraine), Universidad de Oriente (Cuba), the Porto University (Portugal), the University of Metz (France) and several universities of Colombia, among them the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Universidad de Sucre, Universidad Autonoma de Occidente and Universidad Autonoma de Bucaramanga. The existing contacts and agreements aim at the exchange of students and professors and the implementation of joint projects.