LEPAC – Laboratory for Adsorption and Catalysis Process Studies

Responsible: Prof. Gustavo Paim Valença
Email: gpv1856@unicamp.br

Ongoing Projects

LEPAC has two ongoing projects, one in catalytic solid-state chemical reaction engineering and another in microorganism-mediated reactions. These projects have previously received funding from FAPESP and chemical industry companies, but currently, they are solely funded by grant agencies.

1. Conversion of oxygenated molecules (derived from renewable sources) through condensation into molecules with longer carbon chain length.

This project originated from a collaboration with SHELL in 2006 for the production of molecules in the diesel range from ethanol. Heterogeneous catalysts based on hydroxyapatite were studied, which proved capable of producing oxygenated compounds or hydrocarbons with up to 24 carbon atoms. Subsequently, the study was expanded to include other oxygenated molecules such as acetone, acetic acid, ethyl acetate, and bio-oil, aiming to obtain other compounds with longer carbon chain length or to remove oxygen from the molecule. This project involves both experimental work and a theoretical aspect of catalyst design.

2. Bioreactor design for the production of organic acids using free and encapsulated microorganisms

This project was initiated in collaboration with BRASKEM in 2008 for the production of propionic acid in its free and supported or encapsulated form. Subsequently, the project was expanded to the production of ethanol using encapsulated cells, yielding encouraging results in terms of capsule durability, fermentation time, and resistance to contamination. The project requires data collection for microorganism growth, optimization of growth and reaction media, and determination of conditions for capsule formation and lifespan. This project entails technical and scientific challenges that require answers for its development.

3. Infrastructure

3.1. Analytical resources:

  • A Micromeritics surface area and pore volume analyzer;
  • A Micromeritics temperature-programmed reduction and oxidation system with thermal conductivity detector;
  • A mass spectrometer for temperature-programmed desorption/reduction (TPD/TPR);
  • A 500 mL Parr reactor, capable of operating at pressures up to 300 bar;
  • Five gas chromatographs (Agilent 5890 and 6890);
  • Thirteen (13) flow controllers (MKS);
  • Thirteen (13) pressure transducers (MKS);
  • Two (2) vacuum pumps (up to 10-4 torr);
  • One (1) turbomolecular pump (up to 10-7 torr) (ALCATEL);
  • Three (3) pressure controllers/indicators (PIRANI);
  • Three (3) muffle furnaces (up to 1100°C) (QUIMIS and EDG);
  • Two (2) linear temperature programming furnaces (up to 1200°C) (EDG);
  • One (1) oven;
  • One (1) water distiller attached to the ion exchange resin;
  • One (1) fume hood;
  • Two (2) benches for studying gas-phase reactions (four simultaneous reactions);
  • One (1) analytical balance (four decimal places) (Ohauss);
  • Two gas lines with eight pressure controllers each, and
  • Eight (8) pressure regulators (Matheson);
  • Two (2) refrigerators.

3.2. Two gigabytes data transmission line (KyaTera project – FAPESP).

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