biorefineries, biobased materials and recycling


group coordinator

Armando Jorge Domingues Silvestre


general aims


  • Development of methods for the purification of biogas, natural gas and syngas by studying the solubility of methane and its impurities in ionic liquids;
  • Study of the phase equilibria and transport properties of CO2 rich mixtures to design processes for their transport and storage;
  • Study of the high-pressure solubility of CO2 in brines to evaluating the potential for its storage in depleted reservoirs;
  • Development of improved bitumens and derivatives: production, characterization, modification and modeling;
  • Oligomerization of light olefins into diesel and desulfurization of fuels using new catalysts and modeling of experimental results.


   TA1. Value added components from biomass

  • Extraction characterization, and application assessment of valuable components-VBCs-(macromolecular, lipophilic and phenolic fractions) from wood species, annual plants, marine algae and agro-forest and food industry residues using Environmentally Friendly Extraction--systems-EFES, (such as aqueous systems and SC-CO2);
  • Modeling, scale-up and economic analysis of EFES extraction of VBCs (triterpenoids, phenolics);
  • Development of simulated moving bed processes for the isolation of VBCs;
  • Development of novel monophasic, biphasic and multiphasic systems using aqueous ionic liquid solutions for: a) Extraction of added-value compounds with interest in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, from biomass and disposed drugs and waste foods; b) Extraction and purification of the biopharmaceuticals immunoglobulin Y and G, from complex matrixes such as egg yolk and hybridoma cell cultures; c) Extraction and concentration of cancer biomarkers from biological/human fluids; d) Analysis and removal of pollutants from aqueous effluents;
  • Development of pH- and temperature-dependent reversible extractive systems containing ionic liquids to carry these separations;- Scale-up and application in CCC of these novel extractive systems;
  • Development and characterization of Supported ILs as alternatives to the liquid-liquid extractive processes described before;
  • Study of the interaction between ILs, biomolecules and model organisms to evaluate their toxicity and environmental impact.

   TA2. From biomass to chemicals, and materials

  • Synthesis of polyesters from 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid as alternative to the terephthalic acid;
  • Biotechnological/chemical conversion of agro-forest residues into biopolymers (bacterial cellulose, and PHAs);
  • Development of functional (nano)composites based on (nano)cellulose fibers and other natural (polysaccharides and proteins) or synthetic polymers (by blending or in situ polymerization), graphenes, nanowires and inorganic nanoparticles; with applications in biomedical, organic electronics, fuel cells and paper coating fields;
  • Development of innovative polymers and composites from cork residues;
  • Production of polymeric materials and biosorbents from lignins;
  • Conversion of carbohydrates into commodity furanic compounds, using integrated polyfunctional heterogeneous solid catalysis reaction systems;
  • Study of biomass components behavior during novel pulping and bleaching sequences emerging from biorefinery;
  • Production of biofuels (biogas, bio-oil, biodiesel and bioethanol) from biomass residues.

   TA3. Green products from industrial wastes

  • Eco-efficient, innovative materials for a healthier indoor environment. Hygrothermal regulation and removal of air contaminants;
  • Synthesis of novel photocatalytic nanocoatings onto the surface of common substrates;
  • Recycling of metal finishing industries wastes into inorganic pigments;
  • Recycling of pulp wastes as raw materials for building products;
  • Recycling of mining activities rejects and electronic waste to recover valuable species (e.g., silica, TiO2, rare earths).