Pr. Juan R. Portela
Abstract: Pyrolysis, liquefaction, gasification and combustion are thermochemical biomass processes that can be used to transform organic wastewaters or biomass into energy or valuable chemicals. These processes are normally require a water content below 10 wt.%. Hydrothermal technologies can be an alternative where an organic wastewater or biomass do not need to be dried, reducing the costs and the process takes place at much shorter residence times; a few minutes at most. Three main hydrothermal processes will be proposed in this keynote: 1) Supercritical water gasification process (SCWG), a promising technology for the efficient conversion of wet biomass into a product gas that after upgrading can be used as substitute natural gas. The composition of obtained gas depends on feed used and operating conditions. If hydrogen is the product desired, temperatures near 600 ºC are required for thermodynamic reasons. In these conditions, the biomass reacts with water, leading to high hydrogen yields. 2) Hydrothermal liquefaction, that is, a combination of thermal depolymerization and recombination process useful to convert organics or wet biomass into a bio-oil under moderate temperature (<350 ºC) and medium pressure (<150 bar). 3) Supercritical water oxidation>(SCWO), based on complete oxidation of organic compounds in an aqueous medium, releasing a great amount of heat and generating a nontoxic effluent. All these processes are under study as an alternative to conventional ones for the treatment of different materials: cellulose, agrifood wastes, surfactants and other sources. The main studies carried out in our group in the last decade will be shown, and also the development of these technologies worldwide will be shown.
Biograhy:Dr Juan Ramón Portela Miguélez is full Professor in chemical engineering at the University of Cádiz, Spain. He has also been a visiting researcher in several top universities like Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT, Department of Chemical Engineering, Boston, University of Texas, Austin, Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux (CNRS) France. He is a member of the Analysis and design of processes with supercritical fluids research group.
His actual research activities deal with hydrothermal technologies particularly for producing energy from organic wastewaters or biomass.