Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group

Elena García Rojas obtained her degree in Chemical Engineering with a mention in Chemical Process and Energy Engineering in 2018 from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. In 2019 she moved to Madrid to do Inter-University Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering at the Rey Juan Carlos University and the Autonomous University.
In the personal and research field, her final degree’s project consisted of the synthesis and impregnation of poly(lactic-co-glycolide) acid foams with anti-cancer drugs using high pressure technology. His final master's proyect was about the purification of hydrogen using palladium dense membranes with cerium oxide interfaces.
During her master, she realiced external practices in the CSIC - Instituto Cerámica Y Vidrio (Department of Electroceramics), her work consistd of synthesis and characterization of compounds materials, formed by microparticles of titanium oxide and graphite to maximize photocatalytic properties.
Nowadays, she holds the position of research assistant at the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group of the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC), where hes research work focuses on design of hybrid materials MOF for their application in catalytic reactions.
  • 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.

Comprehensive permeation analysis and mechanical resistance of electroless pore-plated Pd-membranes with ordered mesoporous ceria as intermediate layer

Martinez-Diaz. D.; Martínez del Monte, D.; García-Rojas, E.; Alique, D.; Calles, J. A.; Sanz, R.