MRQ Network – 20 minutes of science with Yira Hurtado (BTL)

30 September 2021

Don’t miss Yira Hurtado’s 20 minutes of science on Thursday, September 30, from 10-11am!

The presentation will be in English.

Yira Hurtado is a chemical engineer, graduated from Colombia National University. In 2016, she was awarded a grant by the Colombian government to start working on academic research under the “young researches program” umbrella. In 2017 she became of member of the Michael Polanyi Surface Phenomena Research Group . In 2018 she obtained a scholarship to carry out her master’s studies in chemical engineering at the same university and graduated with a meritorious thesis in 2020.
Her research experience is related to the synthesis, characterization, and utilization of nanoparticles for applications in the oil and gas industry, emphasizing enhanced oil recovery techniques. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in chemical engineering at the Université of Sherbrooke, is a member of the Laboratoire des Technologies de la biomasse, and this time, her focus is obtaining liquid fuels from biomass.


Biomass to liquid biofuels through Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis.

CO2 emissions have a severe impact on climate change, and the transport sector accounted for almost one-third of total emissions in 2018. It is the most important source of emissions in Quebec while being the second at the Canadian level. So, reducing the carbon intensity of the transport industry and making mobility more sustainable is a worthwhile effort. Synthetic fuels with carbon-neutral emissions are an alternative that could speed up the energy transition, especially if synthetic fuels do not come from fossil energy sources. Gasification of biomass produces synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Syngas is considered a chemical building block that can be transformed into many things such as methanol, hydrogen, ammonia, and synthetic fuels through Fisher Tropsch synthesis (FTS).

A present, the high costs associated with producing synthetic fuel prevents its widespread manufacturing. Consequently, finding a manufacturing process that allows the production of synthetic fuels without high expenses and using biogenic precursors would mean that combustion engines could become neutral in their carbon emissions. Hence, the main objective of my research is to improve the manufacturing process of synthetic fuels through FTS using a structural catalyst that will enhance temperature control in the process and allows the use of more compact reactors, reducing costs associated with production.

My research is under the umbrella of the Ceresis project, a project funded in Europe by the Horizon 2020 call, the New Frontiers in Research Fund program in Canada, and the FRQNT in Quebec. This call aims to reduce greenhouse gases and replace some of the fossil fuels used massively in Europe, Canada, and Quebec. Within the project, my role is the production of synthetic fuels from syngas obtained from biomass gasification. Our partners will use the latter for the phytoremediation of sites contaminated by industrial, agricultural, or military use in Europe and Brazil.

🖐🤓 Curious to learn more about her project?

Log in on Thursday, September 30, at 10:00 a.m. at the following link:
meeting ID: 651 9509 5041
Secret code: 069124

The BTL offers a unique window in terms of research and development in the field of valorizing different sources of residual carbon, and now, also food industry related challenges

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