Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group

  • Synergetic integration of BIOtechnology and thermochemical CaTalysis for the cAscade coNvErsion of organic waste to jet-fuel (BIOCTANE)

    Funding : European Commission (GA 101084336)
    Start / End Years : 2022 - 2026
    Principal Investigator : Melero Hernández, Juan Antonio y Morales Sánchez, Gabriel
    Research Team : - Leo Llorente, Pedro - Melero Hernández, Juan Antonio - Morales Sánchez, Gabriel - Paniagua Martín, Marta - Ventura Sanchez-Hornero, María 

      Show summary: The reduction of GHG emissions according to the Paris Agreement is particularly challenging regarding the production of “green” liquid fuels with a high energy density for the aviation sector (drop-in biokerosene). In this context, the BIOCTANE project aims to develop and optimize an innovative process for the conversion of organic waste materials naturally characterized by a high-water content (e.g. food-waste, organic material from the food processing industry) into carbon-neutral market-ready drop-in jet-fuels. In particular, BIOCTANE project will develop a proof of concept on the synergetic coupling of biotechnological and thermocatalytic processing routes by a disruptive and interdisciplinary strategy that will result in an efficient valorization of the organic wastes into renewable jet-fuel, maximizing the recovery of chemical energy, nutrients and carbon use. First, the complex organic waste will be converted into platform molecules (acetoin and 2,3-butanediol) by creating a breakthrough link between biotechnological processing of biowaste and hydrothermal gasification technology. Subsequently, a novel one-pot chemical process will be developed by the combination of different catalytic steps through which the platform molecules are converted to jet-fuel range hydrocarbons. Based on an extensive process flow modelling, the process efficiency and the technoeconomic requirements for full market integration as well as the environmental impact will be assessed. Best environmental performance, including recovering nutrients for reuse will be aimed for throughout the process development. Therefore, BIOCTANE will establish a novel pathway involving hybrid processes and multifunctional catalysts, contributing to implement sustainable, secure and competitive renewable energy technologies in Europe, boosting the use of advanced biofuels and with a direct impact on strategic areas like aviation transport

  • Hybrid MOF catalysts development for glycerol valorization

    Funding : Universidad Rey Juan Carlos ()
    Start / End Years : 2023 - 2023
    Principal Investigator : Orcajo Rincón, Gisela
    Research Team : - Calleja Pardo, Guillermo - García Rojas, Elena - Leo Llorente, Pedro - Martos Sánchez, Carmen - Orcajo Rincón, Gisela - Paredes Martínez, Beatriz - Tapiador Cebrián, Jesús 

      Show summary: In the current energy-demanding world and emissions-restrictive scenario, biofuels also play an important role in decarbonization, mainly in transportation, buildings and industry. The global production of biodiesel is still growing, generating a massive amount of glycerol as by-product at a rate of 10-12% of biodiesel and a purity of about 50-55%. The global glycerol market size was valued at USD 2.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% in terms of revenue from 2021 to 2027. Alternatives are especially interesting if the use of crude glycerol is enabled without the need of further purification, so new chemical conversion routes need to be explored. Among these alternatives, acetalization reactions stand out as a process that can adhere to the principles of Green Chemistry and can be catalyzed by a heterogeneous catalyst. Acetals are traditionally produced from aldehydes and alcohols in the presence of typical acid catalysts such as dry HCl, H2SO4, trifluoroacetic acid, and p-toluenesulfonic acid. Recently, successful, and efficient acetalization reactions have also been reported using heterogeneous catalysts such as Amberlyst-15 and Amberlyst-36, silica-supported heteropoly acids, mesoporous silicates containing arylsulfonate groups and zeolites. However, none of these catalysts can simultaneously contain structural Lewis and Brønsted acid sites, which is a suitable catalytic feature for acetalization reactions. The main objective of this project is to find an efficient system to transform glycerol into high-value products by using advanced catalysts that improves the state of the art about acetalization of glycerol, using heterogeneous, active and selective novel catalysts. These advanced catalysts will be hybrid materials based on MOFs and mesoporous silica that would enhance the physical and chemical properties of the MOF phase, decreasing the economic costs of the catalyst production.

Direct a-arylation of ketones efficiently catalyzed by Cu-MOF-74

Leo, P.; Orcajo, G.; Briones, D.; Martínez, F.; Calleja, G.

Novel and versatile cobalt Azobenzene-Based Metal-Organic Framework as hydrogen adsorbent

Montes-Andrés, H.; Leo, P.; Orcajo, G.; Rodríguez-Diéguez, A.; Choquesillo-Lazarte, D.; Martos, C.; Botas, J. A.; Martínez, F., Calleja, G.

Sustainable Fe-BTC catalyst for efficient removal of mehylene blue by advanced fenton oxidation

Martínez, F.; Leo, P.; Orcajo, G.; Díaz-García, M.; Sanchez-Sanchez, M.; Calleja, G.

MOFs Extend the Lifetime of Pd(II) Catalyst for Room Temperature Alkenylation of Enamine-Like Arenes

Cirujano, F. G.; Leo, P.; Vercammen, J.; Smolders, S.; Orcajo G.; De Vos, D. V.

Alkaline-earth metal based MOFs with second scale long-lasting phosphor behavior

Briones, D.; Leo, P.; Cepeda, J.; Orcajo, G.; Calleja, G.; Sanz, R.; Rodríguez-Diéguez, A.; Martínez, F.

New URJC-1 Material with remarkable stability and acid-base catalytic properties

Leo, P.; Martínez, F.; Calleja, G.; Briones, D.; Wojtas, L.; Orcajo, G.