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Chemical engineering

EFCE recognizes biomass conversion breakthrough

The European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE) has recognised research in biomass-to-sugar conversion technologies which could reduce the size of reactor needed by a factor of up to 5,000 compared with traditional methods.

Dr. Danilo Cantero was awarded the EFCE Excellence Award in Process Intensification for his thesis demonstrating supercritical hydrolysis of cellulose or biomass to sugars.

Dr. Cantero's method uses water at supercritical conditions to de-polymerise the cellulose or biomass, resulting in a faster rate of reaction while also slowing down unwanted glucose decomposition.

The increased rate of reaction allows for a large decrease in reactor volume. Dr. Cantero's research demonstrated that his process could yield the same amount of sugar as conventional methods, using a reactor that's 5000 times smaller. His process is also faster, saving hours or even days compared with existing methods for hydrolysing cellulose or biomass.

In addition, the reactor can act as a heat exchanger; the process employs instantaneous heating and cooling methods which allows for a high yield of sugar from cellulose hydrolysis - as high as 95 per cent.

Image: Tom Van Gerven, Chair of the EFCE Working Party on Process Intensification; Danilo Cantero; and Jean-Marc Le Lann, Scientific Vice President of EFCE.

Dr Cantero completed his thesis titled:
'Intensification of Cellulose Hydrolysis Process by Supercritical Water, Obtaining of Added Value Products', at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

The award, which comprised of a €1,500 cash prize, was presented to Dr Cantero by the EFCE Working Party on Process Intensification during the fifth European Process Intensification Conference (EPIC 5), which was held in Nice, France, in September 2015.

Related links
EFCE Media Centre. § ECCE10 + ECAB3 + EPIC 5 joint congress. § EFCE Working Party on Process Intensification.

PhD Thesis summary -
'Intensification of Cellulose Hydrolysis Process by Supercritical Water, Obtaining of Added Value Products'

EFCE in profile
Founded in 1953, The European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE) is a non-profit-making association, whose object is to promote co-operation in Europe between non-profit-making professional scientific and technical societies in 30 countries for the general advancement of chemical engineering and as a means of furthering the development of chemical engineering.

For further information, view website:

IChemE in profile
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is the global professional membership organisation for people with relevant experience or an interest in chemical engineering. With a growing global membership of over 42,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society, encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. IChemE is the only organisation to award Chartered Chemical Engineer and Professional Process Safety Engineer status.

About IChemE Corporate Partnerships
IChemE's Corporate Partner scheme recognises and rewards organisations that demonstrate a sustained commitment to the process industries. The initiative includes an independent validation of organisation's commitment to skills and professional development.

Corporate Partnership has three levels - Gold, Silver and Bronze. Applicants are assessed against six components. Two components are essential: IChemE membership; and an accredited company training scheme.

The optional components include: inspiring the next generation; connecting with young engineers; championing Chartered engineer status and continuing professional development (CPD); and sharing knowledge and expertise. The level of partnership awarded is based on:

§ Bronze - the essentials. § Silver - the essentials plus two optional components. § Gold - all component

For further information, view website: 
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