Design of energy systems
Energy and fuel production is a complex system with different players and multifaceted issues. CAPE-Lab research has been focusing on the analysis, design and optimization of renewable energy systems, particularly with concern to biorefineries for sustainable fuel and chemical production.
According to a multiscale and interdisciplinary perspective, the research effort has been addressing all key issues in the establishment of new energy systems, from the modelling of fundamental phenomena (e.g., lignocellulose hydrolysis or microalgae growth mechanisms), up to the analysis and design of equipment and production processes (including heat integration), until the strategic design of the entire supply chain (where the effect of uncertainty in the design variables has also been taken into account). Both sustainability (e.g., minimization of carbon and water foooprints) and economic goals have driven the optimization effort, especially in the optimization of the supply chain where an holistic approach is clearly of paramount importance.
An additional research field is concerned with the design and optimization of microalgae cultivation processes for fuel and chemical production. In particular, the objective is to develop first principles mathematical models representing microalgae growth dynamics in a reliable and reproducible way. Such models can effectively support design, scale-up and control on industrial equipment and process operation.