+34 902 204 100 ext. 3615 ó 90325 (dirección ITQUIMA) itquima@uclm.es

Laboratory of Catalysis and Materials


Technical and sustainable development and innovation of chemical processes of industrial interest are among the main aims of our research group. Researches  have been focused on different subjects related to the conventional catalysis; the application of the electrochemical promotion of catalysis (EPOC) and electrocatalysis at high and low temperatures; the synthesis and uses of carbon nanostructures (carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, carbon nanospheres and graphene) as catalysts and as a part of polymer-based composites; the encapsulation of PCMs and catalysts; the pyrolysis, combustion and gasification of biomass; and the simulation and modeling of chemical processes.

In the field of the conventional catalysis and electro-catalysis the group has investigated in: methane tri-reforming, alcohols reforming, Fischer-Tropsch, Water-Gas Shift, partial oxidation of glycerol to fine chemicals and complete methane oxidation. Likewise, it has gained expertise in the synthesis, characterization and functionalization of carbon and carbon-nitrogen nanostructures (nanotubes, nanofibres, nanospheres and graphene) at lab and bench scales (50 g/day), the preparation of aerogels and composites with the referred nanostructures at lab and pilot plant scale, and the manufacture of encapsulated materials and catalysts at lab and pilot plant scale (few kilograms a day).


The main aim of this research is the development of nanomaterial-based polymer aerogels using freeze-drying as dry method for the wet gel. Aerogel has become one of the most interesting materials to scientists due to its unique physical and chemical properties In particular, aerogels offer the lowest density and the lowest thermal conductivity of any known solid. Aerogel is a very light material, derivative of a gel, in which the liquid compound has been replaced for a gas. This characteristic provides to the material of a high porosity and a great surface area. The aerogels synthesised in this work are used in construction as thermal insulating materials.

Freeze-drying have several advantages compared to another dry method as the increase product stability and the decrease loss of volatile substances. Furthermore, the final product has a high porosity with a final moisture content below 5 wt. %. Freeze-drying avoids oxidation problems due to employ vacuum. In Figure are shown the different steps of freeze-drying method.

  Freeze-Drying method


Researchers: Carolina Simón Herrero, María Luz Sánchez Silva, Amaya Romero Izquierdo, José Luis Valverde Palomino


1.- Tailor-made aerogels based on carbon nanofibers by freeze-drying. L. Sánchez-Silva, S. Víctor-Román, A. Romero, I. Gracia, J. L Valverde. Science of advanced materials, 2014, Vol. 6 (4), p. 665-673. 

2.- CNF-reinforced polymer aerogels: Influence of the synthesis variables and economic evaluation. S. Víctor-Román, C. Simón-Herrero, A. Romero, I. Gracia,  J.L. Valverde, L. Sánchez-Silva. Chemical Engineering Journal, 2015, Vol. 262, p. 691-701.



The main objective of this research is to optimized CVD synthesis of graphene using different metals as catalyst, such as copper, nickel or iron.

Depending on the morphology, graphene can be synthesized by different methods. Based on the raw material, it can be distinguish two synthesis methods, Bottom-up and Top Down. The first one, Bottom-up, comprises methods which use carbonaceous gas sources to synthesized graphene. In the other hand, Top Down methods used graphene as raw material. Inside Bottom-up methods, Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is the most suitable one to produced high quality and large-area of graphene.

To accomplish this goal a set-up formed by a 40 inches quartz reactor located inside a furnace is used. The samples are synthesized at atmospheric pressure and high temperatures. To achieve the optimization of graphene synthesis the variables which influence this synthesis are studied.


 Experimental procedure for the synthesis of graphene by the CVD method


Researchers: Mª del Prado Lavín López, Amaya Romero Izquierdo, José Luis Valverde Palomino, Mª Luz Sánchez Silva.


1.- Synthesis and characterization of graphene: influence of synthesis variables. M.P. Lavin-Lopez, et al. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2014, Vol. 16 (7), p.2962-2970. 

2.- Novel elchings to tranfer CVD-grown graphene from copper to arbitrary substrates. M.P. Lavin-Lopez, et al. Chemical Physics Letters, 2014, Vo. 614 (0), p.89-94. 

3.- Thickness control of graphene deposited over polycrystalline nickel. M.P. Lavin-Lopez, et al. New Journal of Chemistry, 2015. 

4.- Solvent-based exfoliation via sonication of graphitic materials for graphene manufacture. M.P. Lavin-Lopez,  J.L Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva, A. Romero. Industrials&Engineering Chemistry Research, 2016, 55, 845-855. 

5.- Influence of the total gas flow at different reaction times for CVD-graphene synthesis on polycrystalline nickel. M.P. Lavin-Lopez,  J.L Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva, A. Romero. Journal of Nanomaterials, 2016, 2016, Número de artículo 7083284. 

6.- Influence of Different Improved Hummers Method Modifications on the Characteristics of Graphite Oxide in Order to Make a More Easily Scalable Method. M.P. Lavin-Lopez,  J.L Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva, A. Romero. M.P. Lavin-Lopez,  A. Romero, J. Garrido, L. Sanchez-Silva, J.L. Valverde, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2016.


The main aim of this project is the study of the energy recovery from different types of biomass through thermochemical conversion processes at lab and pilot plant scale.

To carry out this objective, the use of the experimental technique of thermogravimetry coupled to a mass spectrometer (TGA-MS) is proposed. This technique evaluates the weight loss of the biomass and the gases generated during the thermochemical conversion at the same time. This technique can establish quantitative methods for determination of kinetic parameters, setting optimum operating conditions and identification of harmful compounds in effluent gases. To sum up, models allow the improvement of the processes of converting biomass into energy and its integration with others from the experimental data can be developed.




Diagram of the biomass valorization process 


Researchers: María Fernández López, María Luz Sánchez Silva, Paula Sánchez Paredes, Jose Luis Valverde Palomino.


1. Temperature influence on the fast pyrolysis of manure samples: char, bio-oil and gases production.M. Fernandez-Lopez, K. Anastasakis, W. De Jong, J. L. Valverde and L. Sanchez-Silva; (E3S Web Of Conferences, ISSN: 2267-1242).

2. Pyrolysis process using a bench scale high pressure thermobalance. M.Puig-Gamero, M.Fernandez-Lopez, P. Sánchez, J.L.Valverde, L.Sanchez-Silva; Fuel Processing Technology, December 2017, Vol. 167, p. 345-354.

3. Simulation of the gasification of animal wastes in a dual gasifier using Aspen Plus®.M. Fernandez-Lopez, J. Pedroche, J. L. Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva; Energy Conversion and Management, May 2017, Vol. 140, p. 211-217.

4. Valorization of Mexican biomasses through pyrolysis, combustion and gasification processes. M.M.Parascanu, F.Sandoval-Salas, G.Soreanu, J.L.Valverde, L.Sanchez-Silva; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, May 2017, Vol. 71, p. 509-522.

5. Kinetic analysis of manure pyrolysis and combustion processes. M. Fernandez-Lopez, G.J. Pedrosa-Castro, J. L. Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva; Waste Management, December 2016, Vol. 58, p. 230-240.

6. Energetic, economic and environmental assessment of the pyrolysis and combustion of microalgae and their oils. D.López-González, M.Puig-Gamero, F.G.Acién, F.García-Cuadra, J.L.Valverde, L.Sanchez-Silva; Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, November 2015, Vol. 51, p. 1752-1770.

7. Kinetic analysis and thermal characterization of the microalgae combustion proccess by thermal analysis coupled to mass spectrometryD. López-González, M. Fernandez-Lopez, J. L. Valverde, L. Sanchez-Silva; Applied Energy Vol. 114, February 2014, p. 227-237.


Life cycle analysis is a set of steps associated with a product, from extraction and processing of raw materials, production, marketing, transport, use and maintenance, to final management when it reaches its end of life. Commercial software SimaPro is used as a professional tool to evaluate the environmental impacts of products, processes and services throughout its life cycle. This software carries out life cycle analysis studies that include: eco-design of products, environmental declarations of product (labels type III), calculation of the ecological footprint, etc.


1. Life cycle assessment of olive pomace valorisation through pyrolysis. M.M.ParascanuM.PuigGameroP.SánchezG.SoreanuJ.L.ValverdeL.Sanchez-Silva. Renewable Energy. Aceptated and Available online 7 February 2018

1.- Nanocomposite for building constructions and civil infraestructures: European network pilot production line to promote industrial application cases.

  • H2020-NMP-PILOTS-2014. 646397 – NANOLEAP
  • Enero 2015-Junio 2018
  • 9 MM €

2.- Electrocatalytic processes for the transformation of bioethanol into higher value products.

  • State Program of Research, Development and Innovation Oriented to the Challenges of the Society of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness CTQ2016-75491-R
  • January 2017-December 2019
  • 197 M €

3.- Optimization of the synthesis and formulation and characterization of new materials based on graphene derivatives.

  • Research contract UCTR160177
  • April 2016-April 2018
  • 8 M €

4.-   Development and characterization of composites formulated with carbon and inorganic nanomaterials.

  • Research contract UCTR60278
  • July 2016-June 2017
  • 40 M €


  • José Luis Valverde Palomino.  Professor of Chemical Engineering.
  • Paula Sánchez Paredes. Professor of Chemical Engineering.
  • Amaya Romero Izquierdo. Senior Lecturer of Chemical Engineering.
  • Mª Luz Sánchez Silva.  Lecturer of Chemical Engineering.
  • María Fernández López. PhD student of Chemical Engineering.
  • Carolina Simón Herrero. PhD student of Chemical Engineering.
  • Mª del Prado Lavín López. PhD student of Chemical Engineering.
  • Maria Puig Gamero. PhD student of Chemical Engineering.
  • Maria Magdalena Parascanu. PhD student of Chemical Engineering
  • Antonio Patón Carrero. PhD student of Chemical Engineering