I3A - Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón

About Us
About of us
About us
About us
About us
CREGCatalysis, Molecular Separations & Reactor Engineering Group
http://creg.unizar.es/
The Catalysis, Molecular Separations and Reaction Engineering Group (CREG), is a research group formed by teachers from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Ph D students from the University of Zaragoza . The group was recognized by the DGA (Government of Aragon) as a research group of excellence in 2005. Its research includes topics related with Chemical Engineering and Material Science:
  • Chemical Reactor Engineering
  • Catalysis and Nanocarbonaceous Materials
  • Nanostructured materials
 
The group, which was initially focused in Chemical Reaction Engineering, has evolved to new topics, including Catalysis, Nanocarbonaceous Materials: Carbon Nanotubes and Carbon Nanofibres, Hydrogen Production and Separation Technology, Membrane Reactors, Zeolite Membranes and New Nanostructured Materials.
 
The research laboratories are spread in several buildings: Research Building (Zaragoza), Engineering School ( Zaragoza ) and Polytechnical School (Huesca).
 
Our mission is to use our expertise in Chemical Engineering and Material Science to develop new scientific and technical advances, in the service of our economical, industrial and social environment.

Research Lines

Processes & Recycling

Transformation of methanol to gasoline or olefins
Methanol can be converted into gasoline or olefins using zeolite catalysts. However, these catalysts are deactivated with time of use, due to the deposition of carbonaceous materials. It...
Methanol can be converted into gasoline or olefins using zeolite catalysts. However, these catalysts are deactivated with time of use, due to the deposition of carbonaceous materials. It is intended to use two-zone fluidized bed reactors, which allow the desired reaction to be carried out in one of the zones and the catalyst regeneration in another. The objective is to achieve a compact reactor that can operate in a steady state, by compensating for deactivation with continuous regeneration, with the two processes in the same fluidized bed.
Hydrogenation of CO2 to Synthetic Natural Gas or Methanol
The hydrogenation of CO2 to Synthetic Natural Gas (GNS) allows to obtain a fuel with zero net emission of CO2, thereby avoiding the greenhouse effect. CO2...
The hydrogenation of CO2 to Synthetic Natural Gas (GNS) allows to obtain a fuel with zero net emission of CO2, thereby avoiding the greenhouse effect. CO2 is thus transformed into an energy vector compatible with the precepts of the circular economy. Our research aims to obtain this fuel by taking advantage of biogas, previously cleaned, from urban solid waste deposits (landfills), wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) or by taking advantage of agro-livestock or industrial waste treatment plants. The hydrogen necessary for the transformation of biogas into GNS has an electrolytic origin, taking advantage of hours of electricity production. The GNS thus produced can be introduced into conventional Natural Gas lines, since the methane produced is indistinguishable from that circulating through conventional pipelines.
 

CO2 can also be hydrogenated to methanol. In this case a liquid fuel is obtained, easily storable and transportable. In addition, methanol can be used to obtain dimethyl ether (which can be mixed with gasoline or diesel), or to obtain olefins (raw material for plastics) or gasoline. The research carried out in our group aims to develop a new type of reactor for this process, the membrane reactor. In this reactor, the use of a selective membrane allows the products to be removed from the reaction medium, displacing the equilibrium (according to the Le Chatelier Principle). This seeks to increase the performance of the reaction and / or be able to operate at lower pressure, and ultimately reduce production costs, making this way to obtain more competitive methanol.

Hydrogen simultaneous production & purification

High purity hydrogen produced from renewable sources such as biogas, bio-alcohols or bio-oils by redox reactions involving solid oxides such as Fe2O3.

High purity hydrogen produced from renewable sources such as biogas, bio-alcohols or bio-oils by redox reactions involving solid oxides such as Fe2O3.

Membrane biological reactors

The use of membranes in waste water treatment biological reactors allows operating with higher cell concentration, providing a more effective treatment, in smaller reactors and with a cleaner...

The use of membranes in waste water treatment biological reactors allows operating with higher cell concentration, providing a more effective treatment, in smaller reactors and with a cleaner product.

Key Projects

Processes & Recycling

New process of obtaining aromatics from methane gas

CDTI(MITYC) - CEPSA AROMET (2010-2011)

CDTI(MITYC) - CEPSA AROMET (2010-2011)

Development of catalytic ceramic membranes for the removal of nitrates in groundwater in the Mediterranean basin– NITRANEM

MEC.INNPACTO IPT-2012-0126-310000(2012-2015)

MEC.INNPACTO IPT-2012-0126-310000(2012-2015)

Process integration by reactor development for glycerol reforming and catalytic oxidations

MICINN CTQ2010-15568 (2010-2013)

MICINN CTQ2010-15568 (2010-2013)

Sustainable production of hydrogen from biological residues by steam-iron process.

MICINN ENE2010-16789 (2010-2013).

MICINN ENE2010-16789 (2010-2013).

Hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier: viability of hydrogen production and purification by means of redox processes and reactors

DGICYT CTQ2007-63420 / PPQ (2007-2010).

DGICYT CTQ2007-63420 / PPQ (2007-2010).

Solutions for hydrogen energy production and associated reconversion (CENIT SPHERA)

CDTI. Gas Natural SDG.  (2007-2010).

CDTI. Gas Natural SDG.  (2007-2010).

Fluidized bed reactors with separate redox zones for catalytic processes and hydrogen Separation

Dirección General de Investigación CTQ2004-01721 / PPQ (2004-2007).

Dirección General de Investigación CTQ2004-01721 / PPQ (2004-2007).

Success Cases

Processes & Recycling

Chemical reactor for the conversion of methane to aromatic hydrocarbons

Catalysis, Molecular Separations and Reactor Engineering Group (CREG) has developed through a project supported by the National R + D an innovative type of chemical reactor. In this project, in...

Catalysis, Molecular Separations and Reactor Engineering Group (CREG) has developed through a project supported by the National R + D an innovative type of chemical reactor. In this project, in which CEPSA acted as an Observer Company (EPO), promising results were obtained with a fluidized bed reactor of two zones with variable section, for transforming methane into aromatic hydrocarbons. In particular, the reactor allowed to counteract the effect of catalyst deactivation, when performing the regeneration reaction itself in one of the zones, while carrying out the desired aromatization reaction on the other. This prevents the conversion decreased with time having conventional reactors. Having two separate sections for each of the two zones, the flows can be adapted to the needs of the reaction that takes place in each zone.

This technology is of great interest to CEPSA, as aromatic hydrocarbons represent the basis of most of the processes developed by the chemical branch of CEPSA. Given the rising price of oil, the differential between natural gas and aromatic hydrocarbons (usually derived from oil) makes it especially interesting to have an alternative technology. This has led to collaboration between CREG and CEPSA group through a CDTI (Centre for Industrial Technological Development to the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness) project, currently in progress, aimed at testing the scaling (step pilot plant) of this technology.

Note that the conversion of natural gas into liquid fuels (GTL) is one of the great challenges for catalysis. Aromatization of methane is a process discovered in the 90s. Compared to other already established processes GTL technology presents several advantages: it allows to obtain aromatic hydrocarbons and needs no intermediate step of obtaining the synthesis gas which has a low energy efficiency. Despite the above industrial application has been hampered by the problem of catalyst deactivation. The reactor developed by the CREG presents a solution to this problem and therefore allow the use of natural resources (dispersed natural gas, biogas) currently unused and CEPSA provide an alternative source for obtaining oil from the starting materials in which production is based chemical (detergents, polymers, solvents, etc.).

Advanced Reactive System Screening Tool

Fauske H.K., Tellez, P., Pena J.A.., Santamaría, J., Marco, M.E., Advanced Reactive System Screening Tool.  U.S. Patent number: 6157009.  Priority date: 12/5/2000.  Proprietary of the exploitation...

Fauske H.K., Tellez, P., Pena J.A.., Santamaría, J., Marco, M.E., Advanced Reactive System Screening Tool.  U.S. Patent number: 6157009.  Priority date: 12/5/2000.  Proprietary of the exploitation rights: Fauske & Associates Inc (Burr Ridge, IL U.S.A.).  This patent describes a device devoted to the determination of parameters needed to characterize a runaway reaction (onset temperature, maximum achievable temperature, maximum pressure, maximum heating rate and maximum pressure increase among others). It includes the description of the physical device where measurements are carried out and the software devoted to its control and the necessary data acquisition.

Two zone fluidized bed reactor

M. Menéndez, J. Herguido, C. Tellez, J. Soler, M.P. Gimeno, Two zone fluidized bed reactor. Patent number: WO2009153382. This patent describes a new kind of reactor, in particular of two zone...

M. Menéndez, J. Herguido, C. Tellez, J. Soler, M.P. Gimeno, Two zone fluidized bed reactor. Patent number: WO2009153382. This patent describes a new kind of reactor, in particular of two zone fluidized bed reactor with a variable section. The two zone fluidized bed reactors allows carrying a reaction in one zone of the bed and the catalyts regeneration in another zone of the bed. This characteristic makes this reactor suitable for reactions where the catalyt is deactivated along time by coke deposition. Other applications disclosed in the patent include the use for reactions in which a catalyst can act as oxygen carrier, transporting oxygen in the solid lattice between both zones, and the use as a filter to remove tar and solid particles from a gaseous stream, using the oxidation zone to remove such tar and particles from the solid being fluidized.

Procedure to obtain aromatic hydrocarbons from methane

M. Menéndez, J. Herguido, C. Tellez, J. Soler, M.P. Gimeno. Procedure to obtain aromatic hydrocarbons from methane. Patent number: WO2009153381. This patent describes a procedure to obtain...

M. Menéndez, J. Herguido, C. Tellez, J. Soler, M.P. Gimeno. Procedure to obtain aromatic hydrocarbons from methane. Patent number: WO2009153381. This patent describes a procedure to obtain aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzene but also toluene and naphthalene from a stream containing methane, using a catalyst suitable for the application in a fluidized bed reactor and a fluidized bed reactor. In particular, the use of a two zone fluidized bed reactor for this application is described, showing the capability to operate in steady state, thanks to the continuous catalyst regeneration achieved in this system.

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