In order to address the nowadays challenges faced by the Circular Economy frame, biomass is the most promising renewable carbon source alternative to oil and coal. In this raw material, terpenes are prominent molecules since they show double bonds able to be oxidized for giving rise epoxides, appealing building-blocks for the preparation of a wide variety of commodities as well as fine products.
To promote innovations toward solving energy and environmental problems that are expanding on a global scale today is a difficult challenge for scientists and engineers. Much effort is needed to develop technologies that reduce CO2 emissions and help to overcome the present society depending on fossil fuels as primary energy. Hydrogen has attracted increasing attention as an alternative secondary energy resource, because the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen produces the requested energy and only water as by-product. However, storage and transportation of hydrogen is a difficult issue. Chemistry offers a convenient solution to this problem. This research line aims to offer new possibilities to overcome the energetic problem by using metal-based catalysts for hydrogen storage as a tool. We are looking for talented researchers interested in developing materials for energy efficiency and renewable energy applications based on transition-metal complexes or chemistry.
Synthesis of new photocatalysts with application in photovoltaic cells, materials for energy storage, water splitting and catalysis
Climate change and energy shortage represent some of the greatest challenges for humanity. The use of fossil fuels has a significant adverse impact on the environment and is considered a critical cause of global climate change. Therefore, the development of clean and renewable energy is the key way to meet the increasing global energy requirement and to resolve the environmental problems caused by the overuse of large amounts of fossil fuels. Visible-light photoredox catalysis uses visible light as a renewable energy source to promote chemical transformations involving electron transfers. There is an urgent need for clean and renewable fuel so that the development of good catalysts and its assembly into a cell for the photoproduction of hydrogen is seen as one of the most promising sustainable solutions for our present demands. The most used complexes in visible light photocatalysis by their excellent photophysical properties are ruthenium and iridium polypyridyl complexes although their high cost and potential toxicity, causing disadvantages on a big scale. Although great advances have been made in the development of photocatalysts for their application in water splitting, photovoltaic cells, solar energy storage and catalysis, development of new photocatalysts to get more efficient transformations is mandatory and will be the topic of this project.
Production of bio-renewable jet-fuel via aldol-condensation and HDO processes of lignocellulosic platform molecules
In this context, the main goal of the proposed research line is the optimization of the production of precursor molecules in the jet-fuel range (C8-13), especially aimed to reduce the carbon footprint of air transport. The research would be focused on the aldol condensation of biomass-derived furfural with different ketones, especially those also of renewable origin, seeking to optimize the catalytic system (nature and concentration of active sites, selection of the support, optimization of reaction conditions, etc.). Furthermore, HDO reaction is contemplated as way of reducing the oxygen content of the final biofuel.
Global awareness regarding established climate change and specifically with the high amount of CO2 emissions released to the atmosphere, has promoted increasing efforts to reduce the environmental impact and consequences. Direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere (DAC- direct air capture) can be an important contribution to mitigate the climate change since this technology could address CO2 emissions from dispersed sources, which are responsible of half of annual emissions of CO2. This research line is focused on the study of CO2 capture from air with the main objective of developing adsorbent materials with high capacity and selectivity, and with potential textural and mechanical properties to develop effective DAC technology.
Bioeconomy, clean and efficient energy, and climate action are some of the H2020 program priorities driven by the European Commission to match the political union goals. Within this context, several work packages defined for the period 2018-2020 have focused on important aspects of these societal challenges, such as enabling near-zero CO2 emissions from carbon intensive industries (included fossil-fuel power plants), or the development of new alternatives for the production of bio-based products, within the context of circular economy.
Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are hybrid crystalline materials, exhibiting high specific surface areas, controllable pore sizes and surface chemistry. These properties have made MOFs attractive for a wide range of applications including gas separation, gas storage and catalysis. They are one of the most promising candidates for CO2 capture due to their adsorption selectivity towards CO2.
In the context of the Organic Device Characterization Laboratory-LabCADIO (belonging to the laboratory network of the Regional Government of Madrid, ref-351), led by Prof. Carmen Coya, deals with the development of materials, the manufacture of devices, the optimization of cost-effective processes for Organic Electronics (special attention to patterning and transformation of 2D materials (i.e Graphene) by electro erosion) and simulation of transport processes in organic electronic devices.
Feedstock recycling by thermal and catalytic pyrolysis is the most studied technology to convert plastic wastes but these processes present limited conversion at low pyrolysis temperature. An alternative and attractive solution for thermal heating is magnetic induction that might represent a way to save energy. Our proposal is to use magnetic nanoparticles and electromagnetic fields in order to heat just the local active sites of the catalyst, thereby achieving the degradation reaction with a more rapid and lower energy supply than feasible with normal thermal heating processes.