Héctor Hernando, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Thermochemical Processes Unit of IMDEA Energía, has been awarded the CEI Campus of International Excellence "Intelligent Energy" Award for his doctoral thesis "Catalytic fast-pyrolysis of lignocellulosic residues for advanced biofuels production: development of multifunctional catalysts, optimisation and bench-scale demonstration".
The CEI awards aim to reinforce the visibility of the Campus of International Excellence CEI "Intelligent Energy" within the academic institutions promoting it: Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC) and the University of Alcalá (UAH). These awards aim to increase research, academic and innovative activity in both universities within the two strategic pillars of the CEI, such as Clean Energy and Smart Infrastructures.
The winning thesis deals with the production of sustainable liquid fuels from agricultural and forestry lignocellulosic biomass waste, such as cereal straw and wood waste, using the catalytic pyrolysis process. By cracking this waste in an inert atmosphere, at high temperature and in the presence of a catalyst, it is possible to produce a liquid with properties similar to petroleum derivatives such as petrol or diesel, which could be used as fuel or refined to produce high added-value compounds. To this end, a series of specific catalysts with high efficiency and selectivity to these products have also been developed and the process has been scaled up to demonstrate its industrial viability.
The awards ceremony took place on 2 December in the auditorium of the University of Alcalá de Henares.