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Rafael Luque

Contributor II
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Luque_Rafael.jpgRafael Luque (Cordoba, 1978), graduated from Universidad de Cordoba in Spain (1996-2001) and then did his Ph.D (2002-2005) at the same University under an European Ph.D scheme that included two short stays of 9 months in total (3+6 months) in the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York. Then, he moved back to York to work as Green Chemistry Research Fellow under the supervision of Prof. James H. Clark to work in the preparation of functionalised mesoporous materials and their applications in catalysis. His preliminary studies at UoY led to the discovery of the Starbon® materials, of which the applicant is co-inventor (2 patents awarded). Starbon® are currently a registered trademark, the subject of three patent applications, and materials are commercially available from Sigma-Aldrich (|ALDRICH&N5=Product%20No.|BRAND_KEY&F=...) as well as being the base of the founded SPANBON spin-off company at the Universidad de Cordoba in 2010. Starbons® have also been the subject of more than 25 scientific peer-reviewed manuscripts over the past 3 years (2006-2010). In parallel to this reasearch area, Dr. Luque was also awarded an IRPPF project (Innovation and Research Pump Priming Funds) as principal investigator to study the economic, environmental and chemical feasibility of biodiesel production as petrol-fuel replacement (UoY, 2006-2007). This multidisciplinary project was the starting point to setting up a network for a 2008-2010 FP7 Support Action project entitled, “Developing advanced biorefinery schemes for integration into existing oil production/transesterification plants” (SUSTOIL) in which the applicant was involved in its preparation and lead contact from Universidad de Cordoba ( Promising results together with a huge potential for future development lead to the foundation of the spin-off company SENECA GREEN CATALYSTS S.L. ( in 2007 with Dr. Luque as one of the co-founders. The applicant has represented them ever since in many meetings, proposals, conferences, etc. Rafael Luque is also the editor of the book “Handbook of biofuels: processes and technologies”, currently under production, to be published by Woodhead publishing (Cambridge, UK) in early 2010 as well as editor of the special issue “C-X couplings in organic chemistry” for the journal Current Organic Synthesis (impact factor 3.6, In recognition of his expertise on biofuels, Dr. Luque was also invited as speaker to a summer course entitled “LA BIOMASA EN EL ESCENARIO DE LA ENERGÍA Y LOS BIOCOMBUSTIBLES, EN UN PREVISIBLE MUNDO SIN PETRÓLEO” organised by the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia (UNIA, August 2008) in Baeza,where he delivered 4 lectures to undergraduates that attracted a great media interest ( He was also recently invited as keynote speaker by the Thai Government to the World Alternative Energy Sciences Expo 2009 (WAESE 2009) in Bangkok (Thailand) where he delivered the keynote speech “Situation of biofuels in Spain: present and future”.

His latest research has been focused on nanomaterials for the production of energy and high added-value chemicals, biomass valorisation and biofuels/biorefineries. Dr. Luque was also recently awarded a Ramon y Cajal contract for young researchers (under 35) coming up 2nd on a national level in the broad area of Chemistry. His early careers achievements in the areas of nanomaterials, heterogeneous catalysis and biofuels have been the inspiration of many scientists as recognised by more than 600 cites to his early career work (2005-2010), and the outstanding diffusion of his research/work/communications has been recognised in more than 85 scientific peer-reviewed articles, reviews and communications (more than 60 as first and/or corresponding author), more than 10 book chapters, 2 patents granted, 60+ conferences contributions, with more than 20 oral presentations in International Conferences and in various Universities. Rafael Luque is also Senior referee for many journals and has an h-index of 15 (July 2010, ISI web of knowledge).


Biofuels: present and future

Environmental issues, the growing demand for energy, political concerns and the medium-term depletion of petroleum created the need for the development of sustainable technologies based on renewable raw materials. The so-called biofuels might help to meet the future energy supply demands as well as contributing to a reduction of green house gases emissions. Crop-based biofuels including biodiesel and bioethanol have emerged as a real alternative to the use of gasoline and conventional diesel in transportation. An exponential increase in the consumption of such biofuels has taken place in the last few years in all Europe. In Spain, a 6.8% of the total primary energy consumption in 2006 corresponded to that of renewable energies, from which the majority (>80%) was consumed in biofuels for transport, mainly biodiesel and little bioethanol from food crops. However, with the increase in the demand for the utilisation of biofuels for transport, we are reaching a point in which we will not be able to supply our future energy needs unless we focus on alternatives to crop-based biofuels. Although this topic is highly controversial and many investigations are currently ongoing, we aim to give a brief overview about certain aspects of the complex biofuel issue worlwide, providing the latest update of the production and potential of biofuels in the transport sector including types of biofuel, feedstocks and technologies and some of the possible socio economic, environmental and political implications of the widespread use of biofuels in a world-case scenario.

Designer catalytic materials for the production of fine chemicals

Environmental issues, the medium-term depletion of petroleum and the need to control waste and reduce emissions has created the need for the development of sustainable technologies and cleaner methodologies based on renewable raw materials and environmentally-friendly approaches. Nanotechnology has also attracted a great deal of attention in the last few years as miniaturisation and nanomaterials are often estimated to be the key for a sustainable future. On the other hand, heterogeneous catalysis, of vital importance to industry, has also been identified as one of the key methodologies to ensure the sustainable approach needed for the future in the production of high added-value chemicals. In this talk, we aim to give an overview of the sinergy between these two important topics aimed at the preparation of designer (nano)materials for the production of high added-value chemicals using greener methodologies and the principles of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. These include a variety of nanomaterials including nanoporous solid bases/acids as catalysts (e.g. metal oxides, carbonaceous materials, porous silicas), supports of metal/metal oxide nanoparticles (e.g. Fe, Cu, Ag, Au, Pt, Pd, Ru, Rh) and related nanomateriales including nanotubes, nanorods and nanofibers. Characterised (nano)materials were subsequently tested in a variety of processes including selective oxidations (alcohols, alkenes and derivatives), reductions (acids, amides and in general carbonyl compounds), hydroisomerisation of n-alkanes, hydrogenolysis of (poli)alcohols, C-X coupling reactions including C-C (Suzuki, Heck and Sonogashira reactions), C-N couplings of amines and alcohols and S-arylation of thiols and aryl iodides as well as biodiesel and related biofuels production.

Nanomaterials for Energy and Environmental challenges: present and future

Nanotechnology, energy and environment are three key hot topics included in the so-called GREEN TECHNOLOGIES present in all European challenges for the future. The urgency to identify and develop sustainable and timely solutions for our future society has become demonstrated due to the alarming trends in global energy demand, the finite nature of fossil fuel reserves~ the need to dramatically curb emissions of greenhouse gases CGHG) to mitigate the devastating consequences of climate change, the damaging volatility of oil prices (in particular for the transport sector) and the geopolitical instability in supplier regions. The topic is therefore very appropiate for a themed issue as its multidisciplinary approach will offer the advantage of giving a wide range of topics to readers interesting in Green Technologies. Many of these highlighted technologies including Heterogeneous Catalysis, Biofuels, Ionic Liquids and Nanomaterials are expected to open new horizons and opportunities for further research, having a great potential for further development and may also become commercially available in the future. Thus, new developments in these fields are considered timely, essential and of high interest.


Universidad de Cordoba

Departamento de Quimica Organica

Edificio Marie Curie

Campus de Rabanales

Ctra Nnal IVa, Km 396

Cordoba, Spain


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