The EQ-2 was formed in the early 90s in Ourense, when the University of Vigo was created. The group included the research personnel belonging to the Chemical Engineering Department, and since then, new members have joined the group to fulfill the teaching and research needs, in many cases through open calls.
Currently, the group is formed by about 20 researches (two University Professors, three Senior Lecturers, four PhD researchers, 7 PhD students and a technician).
The major research topic has been the development of processes for obtaining value-added products from vegetal biomass based on the fractionation of its major components (cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectins, phenolic fraction and extractives). This approach has led to the development of multiproduct processes (following the philosophy known as “Biomass Refinin”), looking at improving both profitability and sustainability. The latter objective is accomplished by using renewable sources and environmentally friendly technologies.
The group works at laboratories in the Faculty of Science of Ourense and at the “Centro de Investigación, Transferencia e Innovación” (CITI) (Tecnópole, Ourense), where scientific equipment for chemical reaction, separation and fermentation (including supercritical extraction, membrane filtration, pressurized processing units, fermenters, anaerobic chamber, extruder and injector for testing new materials) are available. Some of them (supercritical extraction, membrane equipment, reactors and fermenters) are also available in the CITI facilities at the pilot scale.
On the basis of the experimental work carried out, the group has particpated in 35 research projects (at international, national and regional levels) and 6 R&D contracts with international partners, has published more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed, SCI journals and has supervised 18 doctoral theses.