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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

The development of a new generation of nanostructures for the elimination of greenhouse gases (NANO-GEI)

Lead Researcher:
Francisco Javier Lafuente Sancho

Research Centre:
Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.


Francisco Javier Lafuente SanchoThis project is in its first phase. To date the system has been designed to undertake the first discontinuous trials of gas elimination. The experimental apparatus consists of a closed recipient which will hold the (solid) adsorbent material and the gas. After a time in contact, the concentration of gas will be measured and compared with the amount injected at the start of the experiment. Activated carbon was used in the first trials as it is a well-known and characterised adsorbent. The experimental apparatus gave a good result, and during the forthcoming months the study of the elimination of greenhouse gases using nanoparticles will commence.

The first experiments will take place with nitrous oxide and methane as greenhouse gases, and the nanoparticles used will be made of magnesium oxide, titanium oxide, silicon oxide, iron oxide, zinc oxide and cerium oxide. In this first phase, the nanopartícles used will be commercially available ones, as they are affordable and easy to obtain. The drawback is that commercial nanopartícles are in a solid state, so that they form aggregates, increasing particle size. Subsequent trials will used gas entry and exit, with nanoparticles of the same oxides in aqueous suspension. In this case, re-suspended commercial nanoparticles will be used after being subjected to ultrasound with the aim of reducing their size, together with nanoparticles prepared by the Catalan Nanotechnology Institute, which is also taking part in this project.

Francisco Javier Lafuente Sancho

Dr. Francisco Javier Lafuente Sancho, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the School of Engineering of the Autonomous University in Barcelona (UAB) is Director of the Technological Centre for the Comprehensive Treatment of Gaseous Emissions, Liquid Effluents and Solid Waste (BIO-GLS), member of the TECNIO network of ACC1O. Director of the consolidated research group for the treatment of liquid and gaseous effluents (GENOCOV). He has undertaken research stays in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

He was Director of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 2004-2010. He is a member of different commissions for the evaluation of teaching staff and research projects. He is the co-ordinator for qualification in Chemical Engineering. He was named the Vice-Principal's Delegate at the Polytechnic University School of the Environment (EUPMA) in Mollet del Vallès. He sat on the University's Senate and the Economics and Organising Commission, as well as the international commission of the UAB.

He has taken part in 25 national and European projects in the fields of biotechnology and, most especially, the environment. He has also taken part in 48 R&D contracts with companies or government bodies, of which he is the principal investigator in 31 contracts. His research centres on Environmental Engineering, and more specifically on the design and use of biological systems for the treatment of liquid and gaseous effluents. As a result of this activity he has published more than 100 papers indexed with more than 1,750 citations. He has taken part in more than 100 international congresses.

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