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Predoctoral researchers win international competition

Predoctoral researchers win international competition

Daniela Torruella, Mario Jiménez and Fernando Muniesa, pre-doctoral researchers from our team, have won the thirteenth edition of the EDPR University Challenge international competition, held on Wednesday, October 25 in Madrid, Spain. Contestants have reached the final with a project that fuses solar energy and biotechnology to capture carbon and create value-added products.

The winners have been chosen by the jury in the predoctoral student category 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). These bacteria constitute the largest group of photosynthetic microorganisms that inhabit 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 do this, they are capable of using very diverse substrates and producing materials with high added value 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 emphasizes: "To achieve this, we try to train researchers in technology transfer processes that integrate engineering, electrochemistry and microbiology."

EDPR University Challenge is an international competition organized by the EDP Renováveis company, 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 of university professors, company staff and specialists in these fields.