Jesús Rico

Personal webpage

Biofuels scientist, part-time pathfinder

My research at the Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg

Today marks the day I return to my position in the University of Vigo after three months of work in the Otto von Guericke Universität Magdeburg. There, as part of the work towards my Ph.D., I had the opportunity to learn and put to practice a wide array of skills and techniques of experimentation that I wouldn’t have had the chance otherwise, under the supervision of Jun. -Prof Dr. -Ing. Alba Diéguez.

These three months have been characterised by intense work and learning, and the activities carried out included the following:

  • FTIR measurements, performed in a Bruker Vertex 70V apparatus with a custom-made reaction chamber, controlled temperature and nitrogen flow, and data processing of biomass residues after treatment. FTIR spectra acquired

  • Installation and operation of a novel MW-IR reactor to analyse the behaviour of biomass samples under inert atmosphere and different heating sources. The heating sources consisted of a variable power microwave source pointing directly at the sample and two rectangular infrared panels located on both sides of the sample holder. MW Reactor

  • Learning the operating principles of a new micro-GC apparatus intended to be coupled to the MW-IR reactor to analyse gas composition. The learning process consisted of two lectures of 4 hours each, in which the principle of operation, the theoretical background and the practical use of the apparatus were explained. Test measurements were also carried out independently.

  • Experimentation on X-ray microtomography of solid biomass particles and the necessary image post-processing. This technique made it possible to reconstruct a sample of a pyrolysed wood particle in 3D, allowing the study of the fluid circulation inside the interconnected pores.

  • TG/DSC data processing and manipulation. Data analysis allowed the creation of a comprehensive database on the properties and behaviour of biomass under pyrolysis.