Description of the Entity

The IMDEA-Energy (IMDEA-E) Institute is a research foundation that supports the realization of research of excellence and promotes the technology transfer to the industrial sector. IMDEA-E utilizes flexibility and advantages available in a foundation structure with efficient management provided by an enterprise culture. The Institute is financed through the resources associated with public and private funds, including revenues stemming from R&D projects and contracts with the industrial sector. The Institute fosters the development of renewable energies and clean energy technologies that eliminates or minimize environmental impact. IMDEA-E’s eight research units are involved in different specialization fields. Its transversal organization provides for a high versatility dealing with different research topics and flexibility to adapt to the changes in R&D needs along the way. As well, its high versatility allows for a wide number of collaborations with more than 20 research centers, 42 private companies, and cooperation in 27 national and international networks. IMDEA-E has been awarded and successfully managed a total of 203 projects (18 regional, 69 national, 30 European/International projects and 86 industrial contracts) and 94 personnel grants, taking into consideration that the total staff is just below 100 (including administrative personnel). IMDEA-E has participated in 11 FP7 and 15 Horizon 2020 projects and acted as a coordinator in 9 of the projects. (CASCATBEL (604307/ FP7-NMP-2013-LARGE-7), HeatNMof (860942/ H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019), HyMAP (648319/ ERC-2014-CoG), MFreeB (726217/ERC-2016-COG)).

IMDEA Energy has recently obtained the accreditation of ‘María de Maeztu’ Unit of Excellence, granted by the Spanish State Research Agency. The Spanish Excellence Programme ‘María de Maeztu’ Units identify and promote excellence in scientific research with high-impact carried out in the cutting-edge R&D centers. The accredited centers stand out for the international notoriety of their scientific contributions, their innovative capacity, and their intense relationship with the business sector.

Role in the Prodigio Project

IMDEA-Energy’s role in the project is related to the exploitation of microalgae to produce biochemicals and biomethane through anaerobic digestion processes. The Biotechnological Processes Unit (BTPU) has a combined expertise in the fields of engineering, biology and microbiology to advance the design and optimization of biological processes and the development and implementation of new bioprocesses.

The Team

Cristina Gonzàlez Fernàndez is the Head of the Biotechnology Unit. She received her Master of Environmental Science at the University of Cincinnati in the USA and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Valladolid in Spain. She is an expert in wastewater treatment via photosynthetic microorganisms and anaerobic digestion of different biomasses, including microalgae and cyanobacteria. She has co-authored around 88 scientific publications and a regular reviewer of international journals. She has extensive experience organising national and international meetings, training schools, and planning communication and dissemination activities. She chairs the COST Action EUALGAE. She has been involved in several European and national research projects as well as projects funded by private companies. In 2019, Cristina participated in 9 research projects. She is a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Molecules-Green Chemistry and a guest editor of the Journal Algal Research.

Dr. Elia Tomás-Pejó is a Senior Assistant researcher at IMDEA-E Institute. She received her Master in Environmental Science at the University Jaume I of Castellón in Spain and a Ph.D. in Microbiology at the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain.  She has a wide-ranging experience in the use of yeast for the production of biofuels and biochemicals from organic residues. She has supervised 5 Master’s and 4 predoctoral students and she chairs the COST Action YEAST4BIO (2019-2023). She has participated in more than 50 conferences, co-authored more than 60 scientific publications, and a regular reviewer of international journals. She has been assigned as a principal investigator on 3 national projects and a principal researcher from IMDEA-E in one international project. She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the journal FEMS Yeast Research.

Silvia Greses Huerta is a postdoctoral researcher at BTPU of IMDEAE in Spain. She received her Master of Environmental Engineering and PhD in Chemical, Environmental and Process engineering at University of Valencia.  Throughout her research career, she mainly focused on the anaerobic degradation of a wide range of organic wastes (microalgae, wastewater, humane urine, organic fraction of municipal solid waste) to maximize their energetic valorization as biomethane by optimizing operational conditions and reactor configuration. She also studied biomass pretreatments, specific methanogenic activities and the microbial community interactions in bioprocess as well as the effect of inhibitors. She has supervised five master students and participated in 11 conferences and 14 scientific publications. She has collaborated in 4 national projects, 3 European projects and projects with private companies as a researcher and project assistant.

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