Cristina Cavinato
Environmental Engineering

Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
My research focuses on the development and optimisation of biological processes to treat organic waste and wastewater with the recovery of matter and energy in a circular economy. Energy and material are recovered from waste through the application of integrated anaerobic digestion/fermentation processes (production of biogas, biohydrogen, fertiliser) and processes using microalgae to purify wastewater, with the recovery of oils (biodiesel) and other high added value compounds.


What was your academic career?
I graduated in Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Padua, and then did 2 years of fixed-term research at the University of Verona. I obtained a 2nd level Inter-University Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering for water purification and renewable energies. I also did a PhD at Ca' Foscari University in Environmental Sciences, where I studied and developed a two-stage process for the biological production of hydrogen from organic waste and sewage sludge.

What is the aspect of your research you are most passionate about?
I am passionate about the possibility of helping to make some industrial processes more sustainable, less impactful on the environment and enabling us to recover resources from the waste we produce every day. Organic waste is in fact a renewable resource, a biomass that we have to treat and from which we can obtain new products, energy, through the development of new technological processes that will be part of future biorefineries.

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
My university career helped me a lot to understand where to look; I knew I wanted to explore biological and biotechnological processes to clean up wastewater and other environmental matrices. The research I did for my dissertation and during my PhD was very exciting for me; it is important to be able to seize the opportunities that come along, especially experiences abroad, and to always do my best to achieve my goals...there was no such thing as 'my' way, I built it day by day.

Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
Over the years, I have met a lot of students, some of them 'just passing through' but many of them really motivated. Researching is a fantastic opportunity to get involved. I often say don't just do what the situation requires, but dare to ask questions, be proactive. Being able to give your own interpretation of things, processing them in your own way and being free to share them, is the greatest satisfaction that research gives us.

Last update: 07/06/2023