The main objective is investigation of innovative conversion processes and new catalytic systems in order to improve the sustainability, competitiveness and integration of biorefineries, within two technological platforms: oleochemicals and sugars.
Oleochemical platform: the main research is related to the valorization of bioglycerin, the main by-product in biodiesel production, to products of higher added value that are consumed in large amounts (acetals and propanediols).
Sugar platform: development of new catalytic materials and processes which allow the selective transformation of lignocellulose, via aqueous solutions of monosaccharides (pentoses and/or hexoses), to important intemediates (furfural, 5 hydroxymethyl furfural, levulinic acid) are studied. The processes that subsequently transform these intermediates to the biofuels and chemical products of higher added value (food additives, drugs, polymers, chemical synthesis, solvents, fuel additives, etc.) are also other main objectives of this platform.