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Research Projects

Sustainable Smart De-Icing by Surface Engineering of Acoustic Waves | SOUNDOFICE

Research head: Coordinador ICMS: Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-11-2020 / 31-10-2024
Financial source: European Commission Horizon 2020
Code: H2020-FET-OPEN/0717
Research group: Agustín R. González-Elipe, Juan Pedro Espinós, Francisco Yubero, Ángel Barranco, Víctor Rico

Abstract [+]

Icing on surfaces is commonplace in nature and industry and too often causes catastrophic events. SOUNDofICE ultimate goal is to overcome costly and environmentally harmful de-icing methods with a pioneering strategy based on the surface engineering of MHz Acoustic Waves for a smart and sustainable removal of ice. This technology encompasses the autonomous detection and low-energy-consuming removal of accreted ice on any material and geometry. For the first time, both detection and de-icing will share the same operating principle. The visionary research program covers the modeling of surface wave atom excitation of ice aggregates, integration of acoustic transducers on large areas, and the development of surface engineering solutions to stack micron-size

interdigitated electrodes together with different layers providing efficient wave propagation, anti-icing capacity, and aging resistance. We will demonstrate that this de-icing strategy surpasses existing methods in performance, multifunctionality, and capacity of integration on industrially relevant substrates as validated with proof of concept devices suited for the aeronautic and wind power industries. SOUNDofICE high-risks will be confronted by a strongly interdisciplinary team from five academic centers covering both the fundamental and applied aspects. Two SMEs with first-hand experience in icing will be in charge of testing this technology and its future transfer to key EU players in aeronautics, renewable energy, and household appliances. An Advisory Board incorporating relevant companies will contribute to effective dissemination and benchmarking. The flexibility of the R&D plan, multidisciplinarity, and assistance of the AdB guarantee the success of this proposal, bringing up a unique opportunity for young academia

leaders and SMEs from five different countries to strengthen the EU position on a high fundamental and technological

impact field, just on the moment when the climate issues are of maxima importance.

- INMA: Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón, Spain
-UNIZAR: Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
-TECPAR: Fundacja Partnerstwa Technologicznego Technology Partners;  Poland
- IFW: Leibniz-Institut Fuer Festkoerper- Und Werkstoffforschung Dresden E.V.;  Germany
-TAU: Tampereen Korkeakoulusaatio SR;  Finland
- INTA: Instituto Nacional De Tecnica Aeroespacial Esteban Terradas; Spain
- Villinger: VILLINGER GMBH,  Austria
- EnerOcean: EnerOcean S.L.,  Spain

Adaptive multiresponsive nanostructures for integrated photonics, piezo/tribotronics and optofluidic monitoring

Research head: Angel Barranco Quero y Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-06-2020 / 31-05-2023
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: PID2019-110430GB-C21
Research group: José Cotrino Bautista, Victor J. Rico Gavira, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Agustín R. González-Elipe

Abstract [+]


Magnetron Sputtered Innovative coatings for solar selective absorption

Research head: Juan Carlos Sánchez López y Ramón Escobar Galindo (Abengoa Solar New Tecnologies, S.A.)
Period: 01-06-2020 / 31-05-2024
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: PID2019-104256RB-I00
Research group: Cristina Rojas Ruiz, Belinda Sigüenza Carballo

Abstract [+]

The climatic change produced by the gas pollutants emissions and the greenhouse effect along to the short mid-terme depletion of the energy fosil fuels make necessary the search of alternative energy sources, clean and renewable. Among them, the solar energy is one the best options due to the mayor availability to generate heat and electricity.

The goal of the present project is the development of new solar multilayered absorber coatings based on chromium and aluminium nitride (CrAlN). The good oxidation resistance and thermal stability of CrAlN, together with a nanostructured design will ensure a good optical performance (high absorptance and low emissivity) and increase their durability at high temperature. The increment of the working temperature (T>550ºC) will improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of the solar thermal power plants, make them more competitive. The High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering technique (HiPIMS) will be used for the preparation of the coatings. This recent innovation of the conventional magnetron sputtering technology allows increasing the film density and compactness thanks to an increased ionization of the plasma. These properties are interesting for the improvement of the adhesion to the substrate and decrease the thermal degradation. In addition to abovementioned strategy, other alternative configurations changing the nature of the material absorber (metal oxynitrides and carbides nanocomposites) would be tried.

The project will comprise all the stages, from the synthesis of the material components of the solar selective structures, design and simulation of the optical behaviour, to the validation in conditions similar to the final application (both in lab and field tests). The structural and chemical characterization, the evaluation of the thermal stability and oxidation resistance will run simultaneously with the aim of optimizing the solar absorber selective coatings with the best performance and durability.

Three-dimensional nanoscale design for the all-in-one solution to environmental multisource energy scavenging | 3DSCAVENGERS

Research head: Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-03-2020 / 28-02-2025
Financial source: European Commission STARTING GRANT
Code: H2020-ERC-STG/0655
Research group:

Abstract [+]

Thermal and solar energy as well as body movement are all sources of energy. They can be exploited by advanced technology, obviating the need for battery recharging. These local ambient sources of energy can be captured and stored. However, their low intensity and intermittent nature reduces the recovery of energy by microscale instruments, highlighting the need for an integrated multisource energy harvester. Existing methods combine different single source scavengers in one instrument or use multifunctional materials to concurrently convert various energy sources into electricity.

The EU-funded 3DScavengers project proposes a compact solution based on the nanoscale architecture of multifunctional three-dimensional materials to fill the gap between the two existing methods. These nanoarchitectures will be able to simultaneous and individual harvesting from light, movement and temperature fluctuations. 3DScavengers ultimate goal is to apply a scalable and environmental friendly one-reactor plasma and vacuum approach for the synthesis of this advanced generation of nanomaterials.




Modeling and implementation of the freeze casting technique: gradients of porosity with a tribo-mechanical equilibrium and electro-stimulated cellular behavior

Research head: Yadir Torres Hernández (US) y Juan Carlos Sánchez López
Period: 01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía. Universidad de Sevilla
Code: US-1259771
Research group: Ana María Beltrán Custodio, Alberto Olmo Fernández, Paloma Trueba Muñoz, María de los Ángeles Vázquez Gámez

Abstract [+]

Commercial pure Titanium (c.p. Ti) and Ti6Al4V alloy are metal biomaterials with the best properties for clinical repair bone tissue. However, despite their advantages, 5-10 % of implants fail during the five years post-implantation. They are mainly associated with stress shielding (difference stiffness between bone and implant), the use of design criteria (fracture and fatigue) not suitable for biomaterials, the tribo-corrosion phenomena in service conditions and the interface problems (micro-movements and / or the presence of bacteria) that limit the capacity of osseointegration. This project proposes the manufacture and implementation of a simple and economical device to obtain cylinders with controlled (gradient) and elongated porosity by the freeze casting technique. Finite element models will be developed to estimate the geometric growth of the ice dendrites and the mechanical behaviour of the porous cylinders (distribution of stresses and deformations), using real-time radiographs of the directed freezing process, as well as the parameters that characterize the microstructure (amount, size and morphology of porosity) and compression behaviour (stiffness and yield strength). In addition, the generation of surface roughness patterns by ion sputtering is proposed, with the aim to improve the close bond between the implant and the bone tissue. Furthermore, suitable in-vitro protocols are proposed to evaluate cytotoxicity, adhesion, differentiation and proliferation cell. Finally, a bio-impedance measuring system will be developed in order to rationalize the influence of porosity, finished surface and electrical stimulus on the in-situ behaviour of osteoblasts. In this context, the main objective is to manufacture cylinders with a controlled porosity and modified surface, with enhanced biomechanical, tribo-corrosive and biofunctional balance (in-growth and osseointegration of the bone tissue and the implant).

Ceramics in a FLASH: The new route for environmentally efficient ceramic processing

Research head: Pedro Enrique Sánchez Jiménez
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2021
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-FR-1087
Research group: M. Jesús Diánez Millán, Luis A. Pérez Maqueda

Abstract [+]

The CeramFLASH project proposes the novel ceramic processing techniques Flash Sintering (FS) and Reaction Flash Sintering (RFS) for the synthesis and preparation of ceramics with technological interest such as solid electrolytes, piezoelectric or hard ceramics. These techniques allow the preparation of ceramic materials in mere seconds at significantly lower temperatures than required by conventional sintering techniques simply by circulating a small electric current under moderate electric fields. This advantage makes it possible to reduce the considerable energy consumption required current ceramic processing techniques. Additionally, it facilitates the preparation of ceramics difficult to obatin in dense and nanostructured form by conventional methods, such as compounds of low thermal stability or compounds that require very high sintering temperatures.
Finally, CeramFLASH aims to use alternating fields with oscillation frequency as well as intelligent control methods based on the sample response to improve the control of microstructural characteristics of resulting ceramics. Although the FS technique was first discovered only 8 years ago, and the RFS was first proposed in 2018 by our group, there is rising interest in this process due to its great scientific and technological potential.

Development of light emitting devices based on nanostructured perovskite

Research head: Hernán R. Míguez García
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: P18-RT-2291
Research group: Juan Francisco Galisteo López, Mauricio E. Calvo Roggiani, Gabriel S. Lozano Barbero

Abstract [+]

The Nano-ABX LED project focuses on finding ways to solve the main challenges facing the field of perovskite-based light emission. These are the chemical and thermal instability of perovskites, as well as the difficulty of maintaining a high quantum efficiency regardless of the emission color, which makes it difficult to obtain both a varied color range and different shades of white (ie, different temperatures color).

The Nano-ABX LED project arises with the motivation to find solutions to these problems. Based on recent preliminary results of the Multifunctional Optical Materials Group, an attempt will be made to demonstrate that the integration of hybrid perovskite nanocrystals inside matrices with controlled porosity dramatically improves the environmental stability of these materials, an aspect that the group requesting this proposal has studied in depth, as well as it allows to increase the luminescent quantum efficiency at controlled emission wavelengths. In another aspect of the project, the increase in efficiency and performance (directionality, spectral control) of the devices will be explored through the integration of different photonic structures, taking as a starting point.

New nanostructured coatings for efficient absorption of solar radiation in concentrated devices

Research head: Juan Carlos Sánchez López
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-RT-2641
Research group: T. Cristina Rojas Ruiz, Belinda Siguenza Carballo

Abstract [+]

The improvement of the materials employed in the devices used in the renewable energy sector will enable to increase the efficiency of these systems to become more competitive and profitable. The current project aims to develop new solar selective coatings able to operate at temperatures beyond the working temperature limits of the materials currently being used in concentrated solar systems (500ºC in vacuum- mid concentration; 800ºC in air –high concentration). The systems will be prepared in the form of multilayers using the novel technology of magnetron sputtering where the materials are evaporated by means of high energy pulses (HiPIMS - High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering). The developed materials should fulfill the optical requirements and thermal stability to withstand the high solar irradiance flux and working temperatures. This project will be carried out through the collaboration of two research groups belonging to the “Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla”, CSIC-ICMS (TEP958 group) and the “Plataforma Solar de Almería”, CIEMAT-PSA (TEP247 group). The ICMS-CSIC group will perform the design, preparation and characterization of the coatings. Meanwhile, the CIEMAT-PSA group will be in charge of designing the bench tests, validating the coatings in working conditions similar to the final application in terms of high incident solar flux and operation temperatures. Such tests will include both the determination of thermal and optical parameters in nominal operating conditions, as well as the thermal cycling at high frequency (thermal treatment and aging).

Smart thermochromic coatings for smart windows and environmental control (TOLERANCE)

Research head: Angel Barranco Quero y Alberto Palmero Acebedo
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-RT-3480
Research group: Ana María Gómez Ramírez, Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia, Victor J. Rico Gavira, Rafael Alvarez Molina, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Ana Isabel Borrás Martos, Agustín R. González-Elipe

Abstract [+]

The International Energy Agency considers that the systematic use of autonomous procedures for environmental control is one of the best technological approaches to minimize the energy employed to cool down buildings and other urban structures (it represents more than 40% of the global energy use in developed countries, much above the use in transportation, for instance), thus reducing the environmental impact and improving human comfort. TOLERANCE aims at introducing and developing a technology based on thermochromic materials in Andalusia as a smart and autonomous element to control the penetration of solar radiation in buildings.  This project focusses on various applications such as smart windows in buildings and urban furniture, improvement of sanitary water systems or environmental control in greenhouses. While at low temperatures, a thermochromic coating transmits most solar spectrum, it selectively filters out the infrared region of this spectrum at high temperatures. In this research, TOLERANCE proposes several R+D actions to grow thin films with composition VO2, a thermochromic oxide with transition temperature near room temperature, on glass and plastic by means of industrial scalable techniques, as well as its nanostructuration, doping and integration in multilayer systems to improve its features and multifunctional properties.

Development of catalysts and supports for CO2 neutral chemical energy storage processes based on liquid organic hydrogen carriers

Research head: María Asunción Fernández Camacho
Period: 1-1-2019 / 31-12-2021
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: RTI2018-093871-B-I00
Research group: María del Carmen Jiménez de Haro

Abstract [+]

TIle depletion of fossil fuels (in short and long term) and the global warming derived from greenhouse eHect are consequences of the extensive use of these fuels. It is therefore highly desirable to use and develop renewable energies and so eliminate our dependence on fossil tuels. This makes the storage of energy produced by renewable sources (which are ¡ntermittent) an important target. In previous projects we have been working in the study of nanomaterials and catalysts for the storage of hydrogen as a vector of energy transport and storage (H2 cycle). In this new project the research group propose to move into the implementatlon of the liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) as a promising way of comblning the C02 and de H2 cycles leading to a sustainable energy storage in a carbon neutral cycle.
Small organic molecules, IIke formic acid or methanol, can be used to store the H2 (and energy) coming from renewable sources. These alternative fuels can be combusted themselves or be used to generate H2 directly feeding a fuel cell.
Research will be conducted in this project to the implementation of two processes related to the LOHC technologies:
i) The selective low temperature decomposition of formic acid by heterogeneous catalysis to the on-demand production of carbon monoxide free hydrogen.
ii) The hydrogen production by reforming of alcohols (i.e. biomethanol) in heterogeneous photocatalytic processes.
Catalysis is playing the key role in the implementation of these Iwo processes. Therefore the main objectives and activities in the project are the rational design and preparation of catalysts and supports to study composition-structure-performance relationships for the two aboye mentioned processes. The innovative approach is the application of plasma assisted techniques, like the magnetron sputtering for
thin film growth, as well as plasma treatments of oxidation, reduction and etchlng for the development of nanostructured catalytic coatings and supported nanoparticles. Porous carbon foams supports and Pd based catalysts including Pd, Pd-C, Pd-B or Pd-Cu will be developed for the study of the formic acid decomposition reaction. Ti02-TiOx photocatalytic films with Pt (and/or gold) as co-catalysts will be
investlgated for the photo-reforming 01 methanol.

Multifunctional nanoparticles for luminescent, magnetic resonance and X-ray computed tomography bioimaging

Research head: Manuel Ocaña Jurado y Ana Isabel Becerro Nieto
Period: 1-1-2019 / 31-12-2021
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: RTI2018-094426-B-I00
Research group: Nuria O. Nuñez Alvarez

Abstract [+]

The project pursues the preparation of multifunctional nanoparticles (NPs) with improved properties and suitable characteristics (size, colloidal stability and toxicity) that can be used to get images of cells, tissues and organs by means of more than one bioimaging technique, thus providing complementary information essential for a more reliable medical diagnosis. Specifically, we shall study
bifunctional probes for both, luminescence and magnetic resonance (MRI) or luminescence and X-ray computed tomography (CT), and trifunctional probes that are useful for the three imaging techniques.Two types of luminescent probes will be addressed. On the one hand, luminescent NPs will be designed consisting of single matrices doped with lanthanide cations (Nd3+ or Er3+lYb3+ or Tm3+lYb3+), whose excitation and emission takes place in the near-infrared (NIR) region known as the biological window (650-1800 nm), in which radiation is not harmful to tissues and has a high penetration power. On the other hand, nanoprobes whose luminescence persists after ceasing the excitation will be also developed, thus avoiding the possible undesirable effects of the excitation radiation on the tissues. In the first case, our aim is to achieve greater chemical and thermal stability of the pro bes by selecting oxifluoride-type matrices, more stable than the
fluoride-type matrices proposed so far. In the second case, the aim of the project resides in the exploration of new synthetic routes to obtain nanoparticulated ZnGa204:Cr3+ and Y3AI2Ga3012:Ce3+,Cr3+,Nd3+, with uniform size and shape, which are essential for bioapplications. Regarding MRI technique, this project aims at developing NPs made up of Dy- and Ho-based oxifluorides, vanadates and phosphates in response to the need of new contrast agents that work at high magnetic fields, which are increasingly being used in clinics to improve image resolution. Finally, due to the high atomic number of the constituent elements of the selected probes, it is expected that they show a high X-ray attenuation capacity, being therefore also useful as CT contrast agents. The advantage of the NPs proposed in this research with respect to the CT CAs currently used in clinics is the longer circulation time of the former, which will allow decreasing considerably the dosage to be given to the patient. The project contemplates both the manufacture of optimised probes and the exploration of their applicability to the field of medical diagnosis by obtaining "in vivo" images in mice. The research team has long experience in the synthesis of rare earths-based inorganic NPs and has most of the necessary equipment for their characterisation. The participation in the work plan of researchers from other institutions, with long expertise on various aspects of the project, who have successfully collaborated with the research team, gives further support to the viability of the proposal.

Power-to-X processes for CO2 valorization in structured catalytic reactors (CO2-PTX)

Research head: José Antonio Odriozola Gordón y Francisca Romero Sarria
Period: 1-1-2019 / 31-12-2021
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: RTI2018-096294-B-C33
Research group: Luis F. Bobadilla Baladron, Maria Isabel Dominguez Leal, Anna Dimitrova Penkova, Lola de las Aguas Azancot Luque, Marta Romero Espinosa, Juan Carlos Navarro de Miguel

Abstract [+]

The main idea underlying the term "Power-to-X" is the storage of energy (preferably renewable) in the form of chemical products.

Thereafter, these products may be employed in energy-related applications or as platform chemicals. As a result, the Power-to-X (PTX) processes play a key role in increasing the penetration rate of renewables in the energy mix in line with European Unions long-term objective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80-95 % by 2050 when compared to 1990 levels. Production of hydrogen by water electrolysis is a mature and commercially available technology that can be used during periods of low demand for renewable energy.

On the other hand, CO2 is the only abundant carbon source within the EU and the combined use of renewable hydrogen and CO2 remarkably results in additional benefits in the PTX concept since CO2-associated GHG emissions is reintegrated in the value chain contributing to circular economy and decarbonization. This main idea drives CO2-PTX proposal. Specifically, our proposal aims to carry out the following reactions in structured catalytic reactors: CO2 hydrogenation to methane (also called methanation or Sabatier reaction), the reverse Water-Gas Shift reaction (CO2 activation and adjustment of the H2/CO ratio) and the direct synthesis of biofuels (dimethyl

ether and FTS) and acetic acid. This set of reactions provides remarkable challenges in key catalytic engineering aspects such as: i) development of suitable multifunctional structured catalysts; ii) management of the thermal effect of highly exothermic reactions; iii) control of the selectivity of multiple reactions in series through the joint action of the reaction temperature, the residence time and suitable catalyst formulation and reactor configuration. The know-how acquired by the consortium during previous projects (MAT2006-12386, ENE2009- 14522, ENE2012-37431 and ENE2015-66975) allows us to propose the use of structured catalysts and reactors as a very convenient way

of addressing that challenges. Heat and mass transfer rates intensification provided by metallic substrates-based structured systems as well as the flow patterns characteristic of open-cell foams are expected to play a determinant role in temperature and selectivity control. In this regard, several catalytic-wall reactor configurations as parallel-channels monoliths and open-cell foams will be considered, as well as other characteristics that directly affect the transport properties of the structured systems (monolith cell density, pore density of foams, metal alloy used as substrate and catalyst layer thickness).

To be closed to practical applications it will be also considered within the CO2-PTX project the valorization of CO2 present in dilute streams, typically flue gases. This entails additional challenges arising from the low concentration of CO2, high volumetric flow rates and negative effects of other components (H2O, SOx, etc.) on the catalytic activity and stability. Improved catalyst formulations as well as sorption-enhanced CO2 conversion strategies in structured reactors will be investigated.

Overall, the project is organized as a series of transversal tasks for which each group contributes with his main field of specialization and vertical tasks associated to a more intense dedication of each group to one or more of the processes investigated.

Verification of the existence of macroscale repulsive Casimir forces in suspend self-standing films

Research head: Hernán Ruy Míguez García
Period: 1-11-2018 / 31-10-2020
Financial source: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Code: FIS2017-91018-EXP
Research group:

Abstract [+]

The ultimate goal of the VERSUS project is the first observation of repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz forces in macroscopic plane-parallel systems. To this end, it will focus on the design, fabrication, and characterization of optical materials that allow controlling the intensity and nature of the Casimir-Lifshitz force, so that levation phenomena can be observed and characterized due to the balance between the latter and gravity force. This radically new approcah makes use of optical spectroscopic techniques (based on optical interferometry between the partially reflected and transmitted light at the interfaces of the plane-parallel system) for characterizing the equilibrium distance at which the system levitates over a substrate. According to very recent results attained by the applicant group, it is possible to find materials whose optical constants and densities are such that when they are immersed in a fluid they can levitate over a substrate as a result of the aforementioned force balance. Our group has recently demonstrated theoretically that there is a number of materials that prepared in this films (<1 micrometer) can levitate several tens or hundreds of nanometers over a carefully selected substrate. Specifically, thin layers made of teflon, polystyrene or silicon dioxide immersed in glycorel are expected to levitate over a silicon  wafer, being possible to tune the equilibrium distances at which such layers will be suspended through their thicknesses and temperature of the system. The devised selft-standing thin films (in single layers or multilayer arrangements) must be compact, mechanically stable, of smooth surfaces, of controlled thickness, and chemically compatible with the fluid in which they are immersed. The macroscopic observation of repulsive Casimir-Lifshitz forces, never reported before, through optical spectroscopic measurements would constitute an unprecedented milestone in the field of fundamental matter interactions.

Advanced optical materials for more efficient optoelectronic devices

Research head: Hernán Ruy Míguez García y Mauricio E. Calvo Roggiani
Period: 01-01-2018 / 31-12-2020
Financial source: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Code: MAT2017-88584-R
Research group: Gabriel S. Lozano Barbero, Juan Galisteo López

Abstract [+]

The MODO project is focused on the optimization of the optical design of optoelectronic devices, be they photovoltaic or light emitting ones, with the aim of increasing their efficiency or endow them with new functionalities. The hypothesis on which it is based is that this goal can be reached by means of the integration of optical materials that allow controlling the radiation-matter interaction in the absorbing or optically active layers of the device. The strategy herein proposed is based on the sequential realization of design, preparation, characterization and integration of devices of diverse photonic structures (photonic crystals, metallic particles, disordered optical media, corrugated surfaces) employing mainly solution processing techniques fully compatible with those used to fabricate the targeted devices. Optoelectronic technology based on perovskites has attracted a great deal of interest in the last years as a result of the high solar to electric power conversion efficiency, above 20%, that have been reached in a relatively short time compared to other photovoltaic technologies. At the same tiem, they present high photoemission quantum yields in the green and the red, which make them also good candidates as color converter layers for LEDs. However, these expectations are partially threatened by both the stability problems and potentially toxic environmental effects they present. It is one of the main goals of this project to propose solutions to specific drawbacks present in the optoelectronic technology based on hybrid perovskites through the implementation of optical designs that gives rise to a reduction ot both the amount of material employed as well as the exposure to environments that typically degrade them. We seek to deepen our understanding of phenomena that give rise to the photoinduced degradation of these materials when exposed to diverse environments, which will allow us to propose specific solutions to develop more stable and efficient perovskite layers. Simultaneously, concepts based on the strict control over the local density of photon states and oriented to the directional amplification of luminescence at selcted spectral ranges will be applied to light emitting devices based on semiconductor nanocrystals as well as to photo- and electro-luminescent organic compunds. Full control over the excited state decay dynamics over large areas and observation of laser emission will also be sought after. In all cases, the energy efficiency of the targeted devices has not been optimized before from the point of view ot the optical design.
The proposal is included in the framework of the Societal Challenge called "Secure, clean and efficient energy" and aims to develop photonic technology using nanotechnology tools and in the advanced materials field, all identified as Key Enabling Technologies KETs in the Spanish Strategy on Science and Technology, aligned with the European Program H2020.

Biomass valorization and sustainable energy production over (photo)catalysts and structured reactors based on carbonaceous materials

Research head: Miguel Angel Centeno Gallego y Svetlana Ivanova
Period: 01-01-2018 / 31-12-2020
Financial source: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Code: ENE2017-82451-C3-3-R
Research group: Carlos López Cartes, Leidy Marcela Martínez Tejada, María Isabel Domínguez Leal, Regla Ayala Espinar

Abstract [+]

The main goal of ENERCARB, project coordinated among the U. of Zaragoza, the ICMS and the U. of Cádiz, is the development of multifunctional and structured catalysts based on carbonaceous catalytic materials of biomorphic and/or graphenic-graphitic character. These materials must be active, selective and stable in catalytic reactions related to i) the production and use of chemicals derived from lignocellulosic biomass, i.e. 5-HMF, levulinic acid, FDCA and g-valerolactone; ii) to sustainable energy vector production (H2), and iii) to chemical and photochemical utilization of CO2 (CO2 hydrogenation), biogas decomposition, photo-reforming of bio-alcohols) using H2 of renewable origin (“water splitting”). This project tries to improve currently implemented processes for energy production, and to propose other more innovative processes, such as use of sunlight, undoubtedly called to play an important role in this field. In fact, the use of solar energy would make more energy-efficient, the CO2 methanation reaction by using H2 of (photo)renewable origin produced by "water splitting". ENERCARB also intends to generatre high added value products by bio-refinery processes, as alternative to currently obtained chemicals from fossil sources. A set of carbonaceous solids with tunned structural properties (meso/micro hierarchical porosity), hydrophilicity-hydrophobicity, chemical functionalities, surface composition, etc., will be designed ad hoc for each of the reactions considered by the different subprojects. The implementation of continuous processes through the use of structured reactors is the next logical step to increase the efficiency of the the proposed proceses. The development and use of structured catalytic systems increases the viability and intensifies the processes, and therefore leads to higher energy and environmental efficiency. The complimentary nature of the three participating groups opens the possibility of addressing all these objectives in one single project. It will allow the application of different emerging methodologies for the synthesis of new carbonaceous materials, such as biomorphic mineralization, the expansion-functionalization of graphite intercalation compounds, special graphites (e.g. graphite nanolayers or nanoflakes), use of inorganic templates for the generation of mesoporous carbons, and also its advanced functionalization and its application in processes of high impact in the area of energy, chemical and environmental technologies