Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group

Daniel Sanz Villanueva is graduated in Chemical Engineering by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and finished an Interuniversity Master in Chemical Engineering in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. He has participated in a investigation project about water desalination through capacitive deionization (CDI) with IMDEA Energía and developing a commercial prototype of a vanadium flow battery for electrical energy storage with PV Hardware Solutions. Nowadays he is doing his doctoral research at the same time he is giving support to the teaching tasks in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group in the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.

  • Producción de bioaceite e hidrogeno a partir de microalgas mediante procesos de licuefacción hidrotérmica y reformado con vapor en reactores de membrana

    Funding : Ministerio de economía y competitividad (ENE2017-83696-R)
    Start / End Years : 2018 - 2020
    Principal Investigator : Calles Martín, José Antonio y Carrero Fernández, Alicia
    Research Team : - Alique Amor, David - Calles Martín, José Antonio - Carrero Fernández, Alicia - Martínez Díaz, David - Sanz Villanueva, Daniel - Vicente Crespo, Gemma - Vizcaíno Madridejos, Arturo J. 
    Summary : The controversy generated by the use of agricultural edible crops for energetic applications has increased the interest of microalgae for biofuels production. Microalgae do not need large fields for its cultivation and can grow quickly. Microalgae are a renewable, sustainable and non-polluting feedstock that contribute to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions because they use CO2 in their growth. For these reasons, the overall aim of this project is the sustainable production of hydrogen and bio-oil from microalgae.
    The microalgae hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) requires lower temperatures than pyrolysis and high pressures to maintain liquid water. This is an advantage because a highly energy demand step like microalgae drying is not needed in liquefaction with the subsequent cost saving. Based on the previous results achieved by the research group (CTQ2013-44447-R project) the bio-oil obtained from one step HTL contains high oxygen (10-20 %) and nitrogen (1-8 %) amounts which are responsible of bio-oil low stability and also of the NOx emissions during bio-oil combustion. To solve these problems, a two-step HTL process is planned in this project. The first step is carried out at low temperature (T< 200 ºC) and provides an aqueous stream by decomposition of proteins and short chain carbohydrates. Next, the solid fraction undergoes a second stage of HTL at higher temperature (T = 250-350°C) with the aim of achieving a bio-oil with low content of nitrogen and oxygen. The second stage of liquefaction also produces a gas stream mainly containing carbon dioxide that may be recirculated to the cultivation of the microalgae.
    The aqueous fractions from both stages of liquefaction can be revalued through the production of high purity hydrogen by catalytic steam reforming in a membrane reactor. Hydrogen can be used as fuel using conventional technologies (combustion engines) or in development ones (fuel cells). Additionally in this project, oxidative steam reforming reactions will be done in order to reduce the energy needs of the process and to avoid catalysts deactivation by coke deposition.
    From the environmental point of view, the project will use tools like the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to assess the emissions and energy balances, checking that they conform to a model of sustainable development.


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