CEICS FORUM ¿ Chemistry and energy seminars focus on the exploration of new research strategies for the production of clean and efficient energies

Much of the first CEICS Forum talks have focused on the role of chemical research into efficient and clean energy production and on exploring the possibilities of new strategies for the future. The content of this Forum has addressed the newest fields of research, such as the catalytic conversion of CO2 carbon and other sources which generate valuable raw materials. During the two days of the conference, new applications for energy production were discussed, and the research conducted at the Campus of International Excellence Excel Southern Catalonia was presented.

The first session of the CEICS Forum addressed the latest developments in chemistry and energy research and was chaired by Sergio Castillón, head of the URV's Stereoselective Organic Synthesis Group. He made the introductory address for this session, which continued with a presentation by Rafael Moliner of CSIC. Dr. Moliner was chosen to speak about obtaining hydrogen from methane and its applications in the field of energy. Afterwards, Hermenegildo García of ITQ Valencia spoke on new photocatalysts for obtaining and generating hydrogen based on the decomposition of water and advances in this technique in the department he directs.

After the break, Joan Salvadó, director of Bioenergy and Biofuels and leader of the IREC Raw Materials group gave the floor to Lourdes Vega, of MATGAS Metal Carbides, who spoke on current challenges in addressing the need to reduce CO2 emissions. She spoke of all the absorption, storage and transport processes and about work being conducted by her research team to develop new technologies and procedures to reduce current CO2 levels. The morning session ended with a speech by Anna Prades and Christian Oltra, both from CISOT-CIEMAT (a socio-technical research centre) who addressed the "social aspects of CO2, hydrogen, and microalgae capture and storage technology".

In the afternoon session, Miquel Pericàs, director of the Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ), moderated a panel discussion on "Trends and priorities in research and innovation in chemistry (and its connection with energy)" which addressed the future of R&D&i in this field and how to adapt current research and knowledge transfer to the priorities of the European research and innovation agenda. Addressing the subject were Luis Oro, professor of inorganic chemistry at the University of Zaragoza and director of the University Institute of Homogeneous Catalysis; Carles Estévez, scientific director of the IUCT (Institute of Science and Technology for Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries); Felip Vidiella, director of R&D&i at Dow Chemical Europe; Reinhard Schomäcker, director of BIG-NSE (Berlin International Graduate School of Science and Engineering); and Joan Salvador, head of bioenergy and biofuels and head of the IREC Raw Materials group.

Research at the CEICS

The session on Friday was very different from that of the previous day. At this meeting various members of CEICS research departments spoke about the different lines of research they are working on. The format of each session was the same: a general presentation by a research centre, department, or business followed by a chat with one of the researchers on a specific topic.

The morning's presentations started with Loanis Katakis, head of the department of Chemical Engineering at the URV, who gave a brief presentation on the number of people working in the department and the various research topics under study. He was followed by Gonzalo Guillén, who talked about one of the lines of research being pursued at the URV: sustainable chemical processes.

The next speaker was Josep Maria Poblet, head of the Department of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry at the URV, who also summarized his department's main areas of research and different groups. Francesc Díaz spoke on the different studies into superconductivity and levitation being conducted and provided as an example a model of a superconducting train system, a technology that is already in use today in Japan.
Afterwards, the Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry was presented by Eva Pocurull, head of the department. Marina Galià spoke in detail about the development of new synthetic methods for obtaining polymers from vegetable oils (biomass) and its application as a source of renewable energy.

Ongoing research at CTQC, ICIQ and IREC

Fernando Torres, director of the Chemistry Technology Centre of Catalonia, spoke on the centre's objectives and operations as well as its main research and development programmes. He also explained the tools and resources they employed and offered to make these available to those interested in using them.

Pablo Ramos then spoke about a project conducted in collaboration with the municipality of Tarragona on "odorous incidents" which occur at different times and seasons in Tarragona.
Emilio Palomares was given the responsibility of presenting ICIQ due to the absence of its director, Michael Pericàs, who was away on business. He introduced the different groups at ICIQ doing research on energy and presented their research topics on solar cells and the different materials that interact with light.

Antonio Martinez, director of IREC, spoke about the Zèfir Project, which is installing wind turbines in Tarragona's coastal areas. Afterwards, Joan Salvadó examined bioenergy and biofuels issues.

Innovation Hub

Francisco Andrade spoke of a very promising new project which is going to be conducted at the URV. He spoke about the development of an innovation centre which aims to launch and market all of the new technologies and innovative products developed at the URV by its different research projects.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering was introduced by its department head, Joan Manel Vallés. He spoke about the multidisciplinary department and the four main areas of knowledge. Alberto Coronas of CREVER discussed the development of new advanced energy conversion technologies being conducted in the department, specifically on heat conversion systems to generate power and for cooling.

To close, Enrique Vidal of the Department of Electronic, Electric and Automatic Engineering spoke about the seven European projects and two CONSOLIDER projects being conducted in the department. Finally, Lluís Marsal concluded the event with a speech on organic hybrid nanocrystalline photovoltaic cells being studied in this department for the generation of renewable energy.