"Zero sulphur” new technologies for healthier environment

In May 2016, Croatia offered four fellowships to young women scientists on the occasion of the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science local Programme. One of the Fellows, Dr. Dunja MARGETA, tells a few words about what it is to be a woman in science.

What is the subject of your research ? 

The presence of sulphur compounds in petroleum fractions, due to their combustion in vehicles, leads to sulphur oxide emissions that are harmful and responsible for polluting the environment.

Nowadays, due to environmental concerns and subsequently more stringent regulations of sulphur content in diesel fuel, deep desulfurization of petroleum-derived fuels is an important task for petroleum industry. In order for companies to meet the challenge of future “zero sulphur” new technologies need to be developed, since the current technology of hydrodesulphurization already operates at a significant cost due to elevated temperature and pressure required for deep desulfurization and, of course, consumptions of hydrogen in the process.

Ultrasound assisted oxidative desulfurization processes (UAOD) is an innovative technology that can be used to produce ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) in mild operating conditions and has attracted an astounding interest in the research community.. Production of ultra-low diesel fuel with an economically feasible process like UAOD could enable lower sulphur emissions.

Could you tell a few words about your path as a women scientist in a male dominated field?

In my experience gender based prejudices still exists in the scientific community but I believe that with every new generation of female scientists it is reducing. My advice to young women scientists at the beginning of their carreer would be to ignore every personal comment related to their background, looks, style, marital status etc. and to stay focused on their research and results. Some days it will be easier, some days harder but in time they learn how to cope.

What do you think of the six points Manifesto For Women in Science launched by the L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO? 

The Manifesto combines important aspects for women in science. For me the most important points of the Manifesto are the third and fifth point, which are focused on leadership positions.

For Women in Science

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