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Joana Lopes


I Joana Lopes finished a Master of Chemical Engineering from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, UNL (Portugal) in 2010. I performed my master thesis on “Employment of the side product of biodiesel in formation of surfactants like molecules”. After graduation I worked as research fellow at the Laboratory of Thermodynamics of Liquid Solutions and on Supercritical Fluid Extraction from UNL. Since July 2013 I am a PhD student at the University of Valladolid (Spain) working on the topic “Intensified cellulose conversion in an ionic liquid and supercritical carbon dioxide” with Dr. María Dolores Bermejo, Dr. Ángel Martin and Prof. Dr. María Cocero in the DoHip project.


Cellulose esters, biodegradable polymers with a high number of applications, can be produced in homogeneous phase using ionic liquids (ILs). These group pf salts are capable of dissolving high concentrations of cellulose in one step process and without catalysts. Nevertheless this process presents limitations such as product and reagents degradation due to long reaction times, high viscosity of the reaction mixture and the products recovery consumes a large quantity of water. This project is intended to study the use of supercritical CO2 together with ionic liquids to accelerate the reaction. The ionic liquids would be use as green solvents of cellulose and the supercritical CO2 would reduce the viscosity of the mixture IL-CO2 enhancing the reaction velocity as would improve the reactants transport.
This study is divided in four tasks. The experimental part starts with the determination of physical properties (phase equilibria, µ,ρ) of ionic liquid+CO2+cellulose systems. From the physical properties data the conditions to development of substitution reactions in order to produce cellulose-derived polymers will be studied. The third task is the kinetic modelling of the process and finally separation of products from the reaction media

Coordinator's office:
Dr. S. Kareth
IC 3/65
Chair for Process Technology
Faculty Mechanical Engineering
Ruhr-University Bochum
D-44780 Bochum, Germany
e-mail: Kareth@vtp.rub.de