A day in the life of a CCUS ZEN researcher: Q&A with Leandro Henrique Sousa

Leandro Henrique Sousa

Leandro Henrique Sousa, Energy Transition Consultant at Ramboll in Copenhagen is coordinating the design of a comprehensive technical and business plan for a vast CCUS network linking Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

Born in Portugal to Goan/Mozambican immigrant parents, Leandro has worked a wide array of jobs throughout his high school and university years, including working in an ambulance and volunteering in a museum.

How did you become interested in CCUS?

After graduating in mechanical engineering and completing a MSc program in Poland and Portugal on Energy Transition, I worked as a flexible pipe engineer in Lisbon, but I always knew I wanted a job focused on sustainability, and that’s where Ramboll came into the picture. Since joining and relocating to Copenhagen, I've been part of the pipelines team as an Energy Transition Consultant. 

My interest in CCUS was born out of a desire to make a significant impact in my new role. Once I realized how fast the industry was growing, I found my mission – contributing my time and energy where it was most needed: the technoeconomic development of onshore and offshore CO2 transportation systems.

Can you share any highlights from the CCUS ZEN project so far?

In November 2023 at a project meeting in Riga, two out of eight potential CCUS networks were shortlisted for further study. Everyone brought forward compelling and well-justified proposals. Ramboll proposed a CCUS value-chain connecting Germany, Denmark and Sweden, which was chosen for developing a highly detailed technical and business plan. 

It’s an exhilarating task to show how CCUS can be implemented on a large scale, applying diverse concepts and scenarios. The fact we are working on such an ambitious network demonstrates our commitment to lay the first steps on a CCUS network that can have a big impact on the delivery of the EU’s decarbonisation goals. 

At a meeting in Copenhagen in March 2023, held in the Ramboll’s Head Office, we brought together leaders and key stakeholders in the CCUS sector to foster collaborations. Harnessing collective expertise across the CCUS value-chain is fundamental to ensure the success of the project. 

Have you faced any challenges in the project and how have you overcome them?

Working on a project with so many institutions is a great opportunity to learn from people with different roles in the CCUS sector. It can be challenging to coordinate a large number of project partners, but SINTEF is doing a stellar job, encouraging engagement, good communication and organising valuable face-to-face meetings, in which everyone's voice is heard and valued.

Regarding the development of a CCUS value-chain, there are still many unknowns about technical, commercial, legal and business-related aspects. Reducing this uncertainty is one of the challenges that the CCUS ZEN project is addressing.


What does a ‘typical’ day as an Energy Transition Consultant involve?

Every day is a learning expedition. I spend a lot of time gaining knowledge from various sources, interacting with leaders in the field and keeping up to date with industry developments. But it doesn’t stop there — the real challenge is putting all that knowledge to work to ensure our projects have a positive and influential impact. I also get to do it all alongside an incredible team of colleagues here at Ramboll.

Have you found any skills or knowledge areas particularly valuable in your field of work?

The past two years working in the CCUS industry have been incredibly enriching. I have learnt so much, yet it still feels like I am on the steep side of the learning curve. There's always something new to learn about CCUS and low carbon technologies, from technical aspects of cost estimation to team leadership and innovative problem-solving. It’s a field where being open to continuous learning is an asset.

In your opinion, what is the outlook for CCUS?

CCUS is experiencing a pivotal moment in its development. Due to the potential of CCUS to significantly contribute to international decarbonisation targets, I believe the future holds an immense scope for growth. From technical to regulatory, and from commercial to financial aspects, it's all systems go. Personally, I’m very excited about the upcoming opportunities and can't wait to contribute to build a secure, sustainable and impactful CCUS industry in Europe.