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Book Chapter
Lyubchik, S, Lygina E, Lyubchyk A, Lyubchik S, Loureiro JM, Fonseca IM, Ribeiro AB, Pinto MM, Figueiredo AMSá.  2016.  The Kinetic Parameters Evaluation for the Adsorption Processes at ``Liquid–Solid'' Interface. Electrokinetics Across Disciplines and Continents: New Strategies for Sustainable Development. (Ribeiro, Alexandra B., Mateus, Eduardo P., Couto, Nazaré, Eds.).:81–109., Cham: Springer International Publishing Abstract

The kinetic parameters of the adsorption process at ``liquid–solid'' interface have been evaluated through the sets of time-based experiments of the Cr(III) adsorption under varying temperature, initial metal concentration, and carbon loading for two sets of the commercially available activated carbons and their post-oxidized forms with different texture and surface functionality.

Journal Article
Rodrigues, ARF, Maia MRG, Cabrita ARJ, Oliveira HM, Bernardo M, Lapa N, Fonseca I, Trindade H, Pereira JL, Fonseca AJM.  2020.  Assessment of potato peel and agro-forestry biochars supplementation on in vitro ruminal fermentation. PeerJ. 8:e9488. AbstractWebsite

Background The awareness of environmental and socio-economic impacts caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector leverages the adoption of strategies to counteract it. Feed supplements can play an important role in the reduction of the main greenhouse gas produced by ruminants—methane (CH\textsubscript{4}). In this context, this study aims to assess the effect of two biochar sources and inclusion levels on rumen fermentation parameters \textit{in vitro}. Methods Two sources of biochar (agro-forestry residues, AFB, and potato peel, PPB) were added at two levels (5 and 10%, dry matter (DM) basis) to two basal substrates (haylage and corn silage) and incubated 24-h with rumen inocula to assess the effects on CH\textsubscript{4} production and main rumen fermentation parameters \textit{in vitro}. Results AFB and PPB were obtained at different carbonization conditions resulting in different apparent surface areas, ash content, pH at the point of zero charge (pHpzc), and elemental analysis. Relative to control (0% biochar), biochar supplementation kept unaffected total gas production and yield (mL and mL/g DM, \textit{p} = 0.140 and \textit{p} = 0.240, respectively) and fermentation pH (\textit{p} = 0.666), increased CH\textsubscript{4}production and yield (mL and mL/g DM, respectively, \textit{p} = 0.001) and ammonia-N (NH\textsubscript{3}-N, \textit{p} = 0.040), and decreased total volatile fatty acids (VFA) production (\textit{p} < 0.001) and H\textsubscript{2} generated and consumed (\textit{p} ≤ 0.001). Biochar sources and inclusion levels had no negative effect on most of the fermentation parameters and efficiency. Acetic:propionic acid ratio (\textit{p} = 0.048) and H\textsubscript{2} consumed (\textit{p} = 0.019) were lower with AFB inclusion when compared to PPB. Biochar inclusion at 10% reduced H\textsubscript{2} consumed (\textit{p} < 0.001) and tended to reduce total gas production (\textit{p} = 0.055). Total VFA production (\textit{p} = 0.019), acetic acid proportion (\textit{p} = 0.011) and H\textsubscript{2} generated (\textit{p} = 0.048) were the lowest with AFB supplemented at 10%, no differences being observed among the other treatments. The basal substrate affected most fermentation parameters independently of biochar source and level used. Discussion Biochar supplementation increased NH\textsubscript{3}-N content, \textit{iso}-butyric, \textit{iso}-valeric and valeric acid proportions, and decreased VFA production suggesting a reduced energy supply for microbial growth, higher proteolysis and deamination of substrate N, and a decrease of NH\textsubscript{3}-N incorporation into microbial protein. No interaction was found between substrate and biochar source or level on any of the parameters measured. Although AFB and PPB had different textural and compositional characteristics, their effects on the rumen fermentation parameters were similar, the only observed effects being due to AFB included at 10%. Biochar supplementation promoted CH\textsubscript{4} production regardless of the source and inclusion level, suggesting that there may be other effects beyond biomass and temperature of production of biochar, highlighting the need to consider other characteristics to better identify the mechanism by which biochar may influence CH\textsubscript{4} production.

do Fraga, AC, Quitete CPB, Ximenes VL, Sousa-Aguiar EF, Fonseca IM, Rego AMB.  2016.  Biomass derived solid acids as effective hydrolysis catalysts. Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical. 422:248-257. AbstractWebsite

The conversion of cellulose into products with higher added value often includes a depolymerization step to obtain glucose, its fundamental unity. The depolymerization reaction is carried out via hydrolysis of the β-1,4-glycosidic bond. The search for a solid acid catalyst capable of breaking these bonds is gaining increasing prominence in the literature. In this regard, sulfonated carbons have shown promising results. This work evaluated the use of a residue from the extraction of palm oil as raw material for the production of sulfonated carbons. The raw material was carbonized and sulfonated. The obtained solid acids were tested in the hydrolysis of cellobiose, a dimer of glucose often used as a model compound for cellulose. The hydrolysis reaction is the first step in converting renewable carbon sources into chemical products and biofuels. Some aspects were investigated, as the effect of carbonization temperature on the concentration of sulfonic groups, the results showing that the content thereof reached a maximum value at 300°C. Regarding the hydrolysis of cellobiose, it has been identified that there is a relationship between the concentration of sulfonic acid groups and the activity of these catalysts. However, there is a drop in the turnover number as the amount of sulfonic acid sites increases. This was related to a preferred position sulfonation mechanism. Furthermore, sulfonated carbons showed higher activity than the commercial acid resins, indicating that this material may be a good option for the generation of solid acid catalysts.

Dias, D, Lapa N, Bernardo M, Ribeiro W, Matos I, Fonseca I, Pinto F.  2018.  Cr(III) removal from synthetic and industrial wastewaters by using co-gasification chars of rice waste streams. Bioresource Technology. 266:139-150. AbstractWebsite

Blends of rice waste streams were submitted to co-gasification assays. The resulting chars (G1C and G2C) were characterized and used in Cr(III) removal assays from a synthetic solution. A Commercial Activated Carbon (CAC) was used for comparison purposes. The chars were non-porous materials mainly composed by ashes (68.3–92.6% w/w). The influences of adsorbent loading (solid/liquid ratio – S/L) and initial pH in Cr(III) removal were tested. G2C at a S/L of 5 mg L−1 and an initial pH of 4.50 presented an uptake capacity significantly higher than CAC (7.29 and 2.59 mg g−1, respectively). G2C was used in Cr(III) removal assays from an industrial wastewater with Cr(III) concentrations of 50, 100 and 200 mg L−1. Cr(III) removal by precipitation (uptake capacity ranging from 11.1 to 14.9 mg g−1) was more effective in G2C, while adsorption (uptake capacity of 16.1 mg g−1) was the main removal mechanism in CAC.

Rijo, B, Lemos F, Fonseca I, Vilelas A.  2020.  Development of a model for an industrial acetylene hydrogenation reactor using plant data – Part I. Chemical Engineering Journal. 379:122390. AbstractWebsite

In this work, a dynamic model of an industrial acetylene hydrogenation reactor with a front-end configuration was developed, based on plant operation data. This type of reactor operates in transient state, not only due to the natural fluctuations in operating conditions but also due to the effects caused by the deactivation of the catalyst. To develop the dynamic model of the acetylene hydrogenation reactor a thorough study of the effect of operating conditions was performed; the influence of variables such as the inlet temperature of the 1st reactor, the flowrate, carbon monoxide concentration, on the activity, selectivity and stability of the catalyst was examined by choosing adequate periods of the operation of the reactor. To understand the reaction mechanism of this system, several published kinetics were tested but only one was finally fitted to the industrial data, to interpret the operation of the acetylene hydrogenation reactor. A set of operation periods was used to develop the model which was then validated by applying the model to a different set of operation periods. As a conclusion, the dynamic model that was developed and validated, using actual plant operation data, was able to adequately describe the outlet temperatures of the three reactors in the system as well as the outlet acetylene concentration of the 3rd reactor.

Silva, CAC, Figueiredo FCA, Rodrigues R, Sairre MI, Gonçalves M, Matos I, Fonseca IM, Mandelli D, Carvalho WA.  2016.  Enhancing the biodiesel manufacturing process by use of glycerin to produce hyacinth fragrance, Jun. Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. 18:1551–1563., Number 5 AbstractWebsite

Oxidized and sulfonated-activated carbons (AC) were tested in the catalytic conversion of glycerol by acetalization reactions. The solids were treated with concentrated nitric acid and/or fuming sulfuric acid (AC, AC-N, AC-S, and AC-NS). The presence of sulfur and an increase in the acidity of the solids demonstrate the suitability of the oxidation as well as the sulfonation process, especially in the sample treated with concentrated nitric acid and fuming sulfuric acid (AC-NS). The best catalyst for the reaction of glycerol acetalization with phenylacetaldehyde was AC-NS, with a phenylacetaldehyde conversion of 95 {%} after 90 min at 383 K and selectivity of 88 and 12 {%}, respectively, to dioxolane and dioxane. These products can be used as hyacinth fragrance flavoring compounds. Furthermore, a contribution of homogeneous catalysis in these systems was not identified. Thus, we identified a possibility of glycerol conversion, a biodiesel by-product, into value-added products by suitable catalysts produced from activated carbons.

Correa, CR, Bernardo M, Ribeiro RPPL, Esteves IAAC, Kruse A.  2017.  Evaluation of hydrothermal carbonization as a preliminary step for the production of functional materials from biogas digestate. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis. 124:461-474. AbstractWebsite

Digestate from a biogas plant that uses solely biomass for biogas production was used as precursor material for the production of activated carbon as an alternative to increase its added value. The digestate was converted into hydrochar by hydrothermal carbonization varying the temperature (190–250°C), residence time (3 and 6h), and pH (5 and 7). Temperature followed by residence time had the strongest influence on the chemical composition and thermal stability of the hydrochars. A significant effect of the pH was not observed. The hydrochars were chemically activated to enhance the surface area and use them as activated carbon. As a consequence, the surface areas increased from 8 to 14m2/g (hydrochars) to 930–1351m2/g (activated carbons). Furthermore, large micropore volumes were measured (0.35–0.50cm3/g). The activated carbons were studied as adsorbents in gas phase applications, showing that the product of digestate is a very effective adsorbent for carbon dioxide (CO2). Especially the activated carbon obtained from the hydrochar produced at 250°C for 6h, which adsorbed 8.80mol CO2/kg at 30°C and 14.8bar. Additionally, the activated carbons showed a stronger affinity towards CO2 compared to methane (CH4), which makes this material suitable for the upgrading of raw biogas to biomethane.

Castanheiro, JE, Vital J, Fonseca IM, Ramos AM.  2019.  Glycerol conversion into biofuel additives by acetalization with pentanal over heteropolyacids immobilized on zeolites. Catalysis Today. AbstractWebsite

Dodecamolydbophosphoric acid (HPMo) immobilized on USY zeolite was used as a catalyst for the acetalization of glycerol with pentanal at 70 °C. Catalysts were prepared with different amounts of heteropolyacid, and the most active sample was the HPMo2@Y catalyst (1.1 wt.%). The products of glycerol acetalization with pentanal were (2-butyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-yl)methanol, a five-member ring compound, and 2-butyl-1,3-dioxan-5-ol, a six-member ring compound. Good values of selectivity for the five-member ring compound (80–85%) were obtained with all materials. The reaction conditions were optimized using HPMo2@Y as a catalyst. The optimal conditions were determined to be 70 °C reaction temperature with 0.3 g catalyst and a 1:2.5 M ratio of glycerol to pentanal. The catalytic stability of HPMo2@Y was studied. The acetalization of glycerol with pentanal was performed using the same sample. High catalytic activity for HPMo2@Y was observed.

Castanheiro, JE, Vital J, Fonseca IM, Ramos AM.  2020.  Glycerol conversion into biofuel additives by acetalization with pentanal over heteropolyacids immobilized on zeolites. Catalysis Today. 346:76-80. AbstractWebsite

Dodecamolydbophosphoric acid (HPMo) immobilized on USY zeolite was used as a catalyst for the acetalization of glycerol with pentanal at 70 °C. Catalysts were prepared with different amounts of heteropolyacid, and the most active sample was the HPMo2@Y catalyst (1.1 wt.%). The products of glycerol acetalization with pentanal were (2-butyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-yl)methanol, a five-member ring compound, and 2-butyl-1,3-dioxan-5-ol, a six-member ring compound. Good values of selectivity for the five-member ring compound (80–85%) were obtained with all materials. The reaction conditions were optimized using HPMo2@Y as a catalyst. The optimal conditions were determined to be 70 °C reaction temperature with 0.3 g catalyst and a 1:2.5 M ratio of glycerol to pentanal. The catalytic stability of HPMo2@Y was studied. The acetalization of glycerol with pentanal was performed using the same sample. High catalytic activity for HPMo2@Y was observed.

Bernardo, M, Rodrigues S, Lapa N, Matos I, Lemos F, Batista MKS, Carvalho AP, Fonseca I.  2016.  High efficacy on diclofenac removal by activated carbon produced from potato peel waste, Aug. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. 13:1989–2000., Number 8 AbstractWebsite

In the present study, a novel porous carbon obtained by K2CO3 activation of potato peel waste under optimized conditions was applied for the first time as liquid-phase adsorbent of sodium diclofenac in parallel with a commercial activated carbon. The biomass-activated carbon presented an apparent surface area of 866 m2 g−1 and well-developed microporous structure with a large amount of ultramicropores. The obtained carbon presented leaching and ecotoxicological properties compatible with its safe application to aqueous medium. Kinetic data of laboratory-made and commercial sample were best fitted by the pseudo-second-order model. The commercial carbon presented higher uptake of diclofenac, but the biomass carbon presented the higher adsorption rate which was associated with its higher hydrophilic nature which favoured external mass transfer. Both adsorbents presented adsorption isotherms that were best fitted by Langmuir model. The biomass carbon and the commercial carbon presented adsorption monolayer capacities of 69 and 146 mg g−1, and Langmuir constants of 0.38 and 1.02 L mg−1, respectively. The better performance of the commercial sample was related to its slightly higher micropore volume, but the most remarkable effect was the competition of water molecules in the biomass carbon.

Risso, R, Ferraz P, Meireles S, Fonseca I, Vital J.  2018.  Highly active Cao catalysts from waste shells of egg, oyster and clam for biodiesel production. Applied Catalysis A: General. 567:56-64. AbstractWebsite

Calcium oxide (CaO) catalysts derived from waste shells of egg, oyster and clam were prepared and used in the methanolysis of soybean oil. Eggshells were subjected to ultrasound irradiation and mollusc shells were subjected to calcination-hydration-calcination cycles to increase the surface area of CaO and improve its catalytic activity. The catalysts were characterized by XRD, TPD-CO2, TG-DSC, DLS and N2 adsorption, while the catalytic activity for the methanolysis of soybean oil was evaluated. Five hours of sonication reduced the CaO particle size by 34%, which resulted in a 56% increase in the activity. Two cycles of hydration-dehydration applied to the material obtained by calcination of oyster shells provided CaO with 27 m2 g−1. The transesterification rate was 2.5 times higher than that obtained with the untreated sample. After treatments, highly active CaO was obtained which indicates its enormous potential for biodiesel production. A kinetic model assuming the adsorption of methoxide anions on the surface of CaO particles was proposed.

Figueira, J, Loureiro J, Marques J, Bianchi C, Duarte P, Ruoho M, Tittonen I, Ferreira I.  2017.  Optimization of Cuprous Oxides Thin Films to be used as Thermoelectric Touch Detectors. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 9:6520-6529., Number 7 AbstractWebsite

The electronic and optical properties of p-type copper oxides (CO) strongly depend on the production technique as it influences the obtained phases: cuprous oxide (Cu2O) or cupric oxide (CuO), the most common ones. Cu films deposited by thermal evaporation have been annealed in air atmosphere, with temperature between 225 and 375 °C and time between 1 and 4 h. The resultant CO films have been studied to understand the influence of processing parameters in the thermoelectric, electrical, optical, morphological, and structural properties. Films with a Cu2O single phase are formed when annealing at 225 °C, while CuO single phase films can be obtained at 375 °C. In between, both phases are obtained in proportions that depend on the film thickness and annealing time. The positive sign of the Seebeck coefficient (S), measured at room temperature (RT), confirms the p-type behavior of both oxides, showing values up to 1.2 mV·°C–1 and conductivity up to 2.9 (Ω·m)−1. A simple detector using Cu2O have been fabricated and tested with fast finger touch events.

Afonso, D, Ribeiro AFG, Araújo P, Vital J, Madeira LM.  2018.  Phenol in Mixed Acid Benzene Nitration Systems. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 57:15942-15953., Number 46 AbstractWebsite
Conceição, DS, Graça CAL, Ferreira DP, Ferraria AM, Fonseca IM, do Rego BAM, Teixeira ACSC, Ferreira VLF.  2017.  Photochemical insights of TiO2 decorated mesoporous SBA-15 materials and their influence on the photodegradation of organic contaminants. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials. 253:203-214. AbstractWebsite

Mesoporous silica, SBA-15, decorated with different amounts of TiO2 (anatase) were prepared by a sol-gel method followed by hydrothermal treatment and calcination, in the presence of a soft template, copolymer Pluronic 123. Tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) was used as the SiO2 precursor and commercially available TiO2 anatase nanoparticles as the supported photocatalyst. The materials were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDS), N2 adsorption-desorption isotherms, raman spectroscopy, ground state diffuse reflectance (GSDR), laser induced luminescence (LIL) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The zeta potentials of the pure SBA-15, TiO2/SBA-15 substrate and the commercial anatase sample were monitored through a complete range of pH values. All the nanomaterials developed in this work were studied in terms of their photoactivity in the UV range and in the visible range, separately. In the first case, hydroxyl radicals (OH) were confirmed to be the key active oxidizers in the photodegradation of the pesticide amicarbazone in aqueous medium. On the other hand, in the visible range, and following a dye sensitization process via a fluorescent rhodamine-like dye, two different mechanisms could be identified for the formation of the superoxide radical anion, O2−.

Bernardo, M, Correa CR, Ringelspacher Y, Becker GC, Lapa N, Fonseca I, Esteves IAAC, Kruse A.  2020.  Porous carbons derived from hydrothermally treated biogas digestate. Waste Management. 105:170-179. AbstractWebsite

Porous carbons from digestate-derived hydrochar were produced, characterized and their performance to reclaim phosphate from water was evaluated as a preliminary approach to demonstrate their practical application. In a first step, the digestate was converted into hydrochars through hydrothermal carbonization by using two different pH conditions: 8.3 (native conditions) and 3.0 (addition of H2SO4). The resulting hydrochars did not present significant differences. Consecutively, the hydrochars were activated with KOH to produce activated carbons with enhanced textural properties. The resulting porous carbons presented marked differences: the AC native presented a lower ash content (20.3 wt%) and a higher surface area (SBET = 1106 m2/g) when compared with the AC-H2SO4 (ash content = 43.7 wt% SBET = 503 m2/g). Phosphorus, as phosphate, is a resource present in significative amount in wastewater, causing serious problems of eutrophication. Therefore, the performance of the porous carbons samples to recover phosphate – P(PO43−) – from water was evaluated through exploitation assays that included kinetic studies. The lumped model presented a good fitting to the kinetic data and the obtained uptake capacities were the same for both carbons, 12 mg P(PO43−)/g carbon. Despite the poorer textural properties of AC-H2SO4, this carbon was richer in Ca, Al, Fe, K, and Mg cations which promoted the formation of mineral complexes with phosphate anions. The results obtained in this work are promising for the future development of P(PO43−) enriched carbons that can be used thereafter as biofertilizers in soil amendment applications.

Castanheiro, JE, Fonseca IM, Ramos AM, Vital J.  2017.  Tungstophosphoric acid immobilised in SBA-15 as an efficient heterogeneous acid catalyst for the conversion of terpenes and free fatty acids. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials. 249:16-24. AbstractWebsite

Alkoxylation of α−pinene, β−pinene and limonene was performed in the presence of SBA-15-occluded tungstophosphoric acid (HPW). The HPW was immobilised in SBA-15 using the sol-gel method. The catalysts were characterised by N2 adsorption, FT-IR, Raman spectroscopy, X-Ray diffraction, ICP-AES and TEM. A series of catalysts with different heteropolyacid loadings ranging from 1.8 to 19.3 wt. % were prepared. PW4-SBA-15 (with 10.8 wt. %) exhibited the highest catalytic activity for the alkoxylation of α-pinene with ethanol. An approximately 53% selectivity to α-terpinyl ethyl ether was observed over the PW-SBA-15 catalysts. PW4-SBA-15 was also used as a catalyst for the alkoxylation of other terpenes, including β-pinene and limonene. The PW4-SBA-15 catalyst exhibited high catalytic stability for the alkoxylation of α-pinene with ethanol. PW4-SBA-15 was also used as a catalyst for the esterification of free fatty acids (i.e., palmitic, stearic and oleic acids) with ethanol. Good catalytic activity was observed for the PW4-SBA-15 catalyst with the different substrates used in the esterifications.

Lourenço, SC, Torres CAV, Nunes D, Duarte P, Freitas F, Reis MAM, Fortunato E, Moldão-Martins M, da Costa LB, Alves VD.  2017.  Using a bacterial fucose-rich polysaccharide as encapsulation material of bioactive compounds. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 104:1099-1106. AbstractWebsite

The potential of a bacterial exopolysaccharide named FucoPol, produced by the bacterium Enterobacter A47, as encapsulation matrix was explored. Spherical capsules with a smooth surface were produced by spray drying. The obtained microcapsules had average diameters ranging from 0.5 to 26.7μm and presented thin walls (thickness from 222 to 1094nm). The capsules were loaded with two bioactive compounds: gallic acid (GA) and oregano essential oil (OEO). Both bioactive materials were encapsulated in FucoPol particles, retaining their antioxidant activity after the drying process. Release studies showed that GA release in simulated gastric and intestinal fluids was faster than that of OEO, envisaging that the latter had established stronger interactions with the polymer matrix. These results suggest that FucoPol has a good potential for use as encapsulating material of bioactive compounds for application in several areas, including food, cosmetic or pharmaceutical products.

Bianchi, C, Ferreira LM, Loureiro J, Rodrigues A, Duarte P, Baptista AC, Ferreira IM.  2016.  Vanadium Pentoxide Alloyed with Graphite for Thin-Film Thermal Sensors, Mar. Journal of Electronic Materials. 45:1987–1991., Number 3 AbstractWebsite

The thermoelectric (TE) properties of vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) alloyed with graphite (G) were studied as a function of its incorporation percentage. Variable weight percentages of graphite powder (0–50{%}) were added to V2O5 powder and their mixtures were evaporated by a thermal evaporation technique to form thin films with a thickness in the range of 30–80 nm. In the infrared wavelength region, the transmittance of the obtained films increased as the G percentage was increased, while in the visible range, it decreased with G up to 10{%}. The TE properties were improved when G was in the range of 10–30{%}, while it decreased for the other percentages: Seebeck coefficient (S) changed from 0.6 mV/K to 0.9 mV/K and was zero with a G of 50{%}; the electrical conductivity varied slightly from 5 ($Ømega$m)−1 to 0.7 ($Ømega$m)−1 while the mobility improved from 0.07 cm2/V s to 1.5 cm2/V s and the respective carrier concentration was reduced, from 1 × 1018 cm−3 to 4 × 1016 cm−3. These films were applied as temperature sensors evaluating the thermovoltage as a function of thermal gradient between two electrodes, in which one was maintained at room temperature.