A team of IMDEA Agua predoctoral researchers has won the thirteenth edition of the international EDPR University Challenge, held last Wednesday, October 25 in Madrid. Daniela Torruella, Mario Jiménez and Fernando Muniesa have reached the final with a project that fuses solar energy and biotechnology to capture carbon and create value-added products.
The winners, members of the Bioe grouphave been chosen by the jury in the category of pre-doctoral students with their proposal Fusion of solar power and biotechnology: Use of energy surplus for production of added value products and carbon capture through Purple Photrophic Bacteria (PPB). PPB are phototrophic bacteria that constitute the largest group of photosynthetic microorganisms inhabiting aquatic and terrestrial environments. They are very versatile microorganisms due to their complex metabolism since they can convert light energy into chemical energy through anoxygenic photosynthesis (in the absence of oxygen). To this end, they are capable of using very diverse substrates and of producing high value-added materials such as bioplastics and certain proteins of industrial interest.
“Microbial electrochemical technologies require a multidisciplinary approach that, in the winning project, has been achieved thanks to the different profile of the contestants,” says Abraham Esteve-Núñez, principal investigator of the Bioe group. And he stresses: “To this end, we try to train researchers in technology transfer processes that integrate engineering, electrochemistry and microbiology”.
EDPR University Challenge is an international competition organized by EDP Renováveis, one of the world’s leading producers of wind energy. Its objective is to encourage the creativity of university students in the application of academic knowledge for the development of projects in the areas of marketing, business administration and engineering in the field of renewables. The projects are evaluated by an independent jury composed of university professors, company personnel and specialists in these fields.