Challenge 1: Definition of productivity regions RAIZ, Instituto de Investigação da Floresta e do Papel, part of The Navigator Company, operates in various research areas in the forestry and technology sector for the pulp and paper industry. The company has under its administration a set of forest land, which manages in a way to maximize access and quality of the raw material (eucalyptus wood) for pulp and paper production in its mills. Each management unit of land is characterized with an indicator of soil quality and an indicator of climate quality (both ranging from 1 to 10) and currently, to characterize the potential productivity (in m3/ha) of each management unit, the climate and soil classes are combined in 8 Productivity Regions (RP). Our question is related to the definition of these productivity regions, in an optimized way, as well as the correlation of the soil-climate conditions and forestry practices with the technological characteristics of the wood i.e. its potential pulp yield.

Challenge 2: Assets acquisition planning PRIO Energy, a 10-year old company in the energy sector in Portugal, operates in innovative energy areas such as biofuels and electrical mobility, as well as several areas of the more traditional Oil & Gas business. Our question is related to the LPG cylinder business, one of the most recent business areas in the company, that is still in the growing phase. To satisfy the market needs and assure a sustainable growth a very tight control of the main assets, the LPG cylinders, is of paramount importance. Therefore, a detailed planning for all the assets acquisition is required and must take into consideration several variables: sales growth rate, seasonality, cylinder rotation and corresponding return rate to the filling plant. The challenge is to develop a deterministic model for the assets acquisition planning.

Challenge 3: Understanding correlations between raw materials inputs Prio Biocombustíveis is a company that has a biodiesel plant in Porto de Aveiro. The production capacity of this plant is 113 880 ton/year. The plant has one lab to control the Biodiesel and Raw Materials quality. Every day Prio improves its process to assure the production of the best world-class biodiesel that any costumer can buy.
Prio's raw materials include several types of oils used in different percentages in the production process. Oils quality has the denomination of characteristic X, which varies with the different types of oils. Even in the same batch of the same oil it's possible to observe quality oscillations.
Oil's neutralization is a dynamic process. The process recipe and operational parameters determines the final quality of the oil. All production shifts collect the operational parameters and analyze the quality in the lab for both intermediate and final oil.
In neutralization process the main reaction is: Oil Mix (characteristic X) + Base → Neutral Oil (characteristic X) + Soaps
The raw oil is heated to achieve the required process temperature and treated with acid and base using agitation. The produced soaps are continuously separated from the Neutral Oil using centrifuges, what requires the control of several operational parameters.
The aim of this challenge is to understand correlations between raw materials inputs (characteristic X) that define the recipe and highly influences the operational parameters to obtain the high quality neutral oil (outputs).
Neutralization Process

Challenge 4: Feasibility study of Housing First Project in Aveiro In Aveiro, it is estimated that there are about 60 homeless people. The non-profit organisation Florinhas do Vouga makes available to these persons psychosocial support, food, hygiene and economic care. Our challenge is to compare costs and benefits of this strategy with the Housing First Model. Housing First is an assistance approach that provides homeless persons direct access to individual housing, serving as a gateway to the set of services from which they can gain well-being, redefine their life goals and, consequently, improve their quality of life.