První ročník přehlídky vědeckých týmů působících na VŠCHT Praha se uskutečnil 14. února 2018. Přinášíme Vám záznam představení jednotlivých vystoupení.
Představovaná vědecká témata
Resource recovery from wastewater through innovative technologies
Wastewater has been increasingly seen as a source of materials and energy rather than waste that must be disposed of. Our group consistently contributes to this much needed paradigm shift by developing innovative and sustainable resource recovery technologies. The core process studied in the group is anaerobic digestion of wastewater and sludge, i.e. recovery of chemical energy from wastewater in the form of biogas. We focus on process optimization, biogas upgrading and the post-treatment of liquid anaerobic effluent. We work on nitrogen recovery through N2O production or the production of methanol from dissolved methane. Last, but not least, we study recovery and re-use of water in the systems for decentralized wastewater management. We cover both basic and applied research, the former being represented by detailed microbiological and physiological studies and the latter by bioreactor experiments in lab-, pilot- and full-scale.
Chasing the retrovirus
Viruses are relatively simple infectious pathogenic particles consisting of protein shell and viral genome, either DNA or RNA. Since they cause many severe, very often life-threatening diseases, their inhibition is very important scientific target and detailed understanding of virus life cycle steps is necessary for the designing of new antivirals. Because viruses are able to multiply only in the host cell, it is important to understand not only the virus composition, but also the whole machinery that they use for their replication. Our research focuses on the study of selected life cycle steps of retroviruses.
Photoredox catalysis with organic dyes and visible light – way towards new chemical reactions
Photoexcitation allows chemical transformations that are not accessible by conventional methods. Use of visible light combined with a photocatalyst even improves classical photochemical methodologies with UV light avoiding side reactions and making photochemistry available for most laboratories. Nowadays, photoredox catalysis with organic molecules is of growing interest because of low costs of organic dyes. Boundaries of organic photoredox catalysis will be demonstrated on examples of application of flavin derivatives, known as prominent natural chromophores (e.g. riboflavin - vitamin B2 of flavin adenine dinucleotide - FAD).
Role of secondary plant metabolites in the ecology of soil microorganisms
Soil microorganisms are the decomposers of photosynthetically-derived organic compounds. Among the plant-derived organic matter, secondary plant metabolites – a wide array of compounds, including terpenes and phenolics – are predicted to be of outstanding importance in controlling soil ecology. The goal of our work is to elucidate the role of secondary plant metabolites in the ecology of soil microorganisms, including whether and how secondary plant metabolites control soil microbial community structure and increase the contaminant biodegradation potential in the microbial community.
Radical improvements in preparation of novel targeted gas separation membranes
The tremendous potential of the membrane separation processes (MSP) has been recognized during past decades. Compared to traditional separation processes (e.g. cryogenic distillation, scrubbing or pressure swing adsorption), MSP represent modern separation technique with low energy and space demands. Currently, new membranes based on hyperbranched polyimides, polymers with intrinsic microporosity or graphene-oxide are representative novel materials for targeted gas separation of hydrogen, methane or nitrogen from CO2. Contrarily, hyper CO2-selective polymeric membranes are mostly based on polyethylene oxide-based membranes or ionic liquid-based membranes with enhanced preferential CO2 sorption thus enhancing CO2 permeability compared to the other gases.
Research on post combustion carbon dioxide capture
Besides intensive discussion about causes of global climate changes and their impacts there is in fact public consensus that new methods leading to elimination of CO2 emissions should be developed. The hereby presented research deals with sorption of this greenhouse gas from flue gases via physical adsorption or chemisorption. The aim of our activities is to provide effective and economically acceptable material, allowing implementation of the carbon capture technology during retrofitting the existing power and heating plants. For this purpose, various sorbents have been tested, namely natural limestones, hydrotalcite-like compounds and activated fly ashes.
Methanation of carbon dioxide as a technology for the production of synthetic natural gas
Renewable energy sources (wind and solar power plants) are strongly dependent on actual weather conditions which causes difficulties with the steering of the electricity distribution grid. The concept of Power to Gas (PtG) technologies is interconnecting processes of the electricity production with the gas storage and distribution by converting the excess electricity into chemical energy - methane. Project is focusing on study of the catalytic methanation of carbon dioxide as a part of PtG technologies. Electricity conversion consists of two stages where during the first step, hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis and during the second step, hydrogen and carbon dioxide form methane in the catalytic reactor.
Chemistry and catalysis in two dimensions
Enormous rise of interest in 2D materials has started by the isolation of graphene in 2004 – a single layer of carbon atoms. Fascinating properties of graphene rapidly stimulated the research of the other 2D materials. The spectrum of 2D materials is growing rapidly and covers many materials, which are generally based on strong in-plane covalent bonds and weak interlayer interactions. Besides semiconducting graphene, there are also insulating 2D materials like hexagonal boron nitride, semiconductors like chalcogenides of indium and gallium and also unique catalytic materials like layered carbides and transition metal dichalcogenides, which can be used as a cheaper alternative to precious metal catalysts.
Open challenges: energy storage, nano-cellular foams, colloidal dispersions
Three open challenges for our research laboratories will be briefly introduced: (i) enery storage employing the concept of flow batteries and organic redox pairs, (ii) micro- and nano-cellular polymeric foams including systematic understanding of their morphology evolution, and (iii) modeling of coagulation, fouling and rheology of colloidal dispersions in the context of multi-scale modeling and Industry 4.0 activities.
Current research trends in metallic materials at UCT
Metallic materials are still among the most important technical materials due to their irreplaceable properties. Department of Metals and Corrosion Engineering deals with metals in all aspects covering their production, processing, determination of their properties, corrosion testing and recycling. The presentation covers hot topics, currently being investigated in these fields. Extraction of metals from non-conventional raw materials, preparation of nanostructured metals by modern powder metallurgy techniques, development of new metallic biomaterials and solution of current corrosion problems in technical practice are briefly presented.
Supramolecular chemistry of calixarenes and related compounds
Calixarenes/thiacalixarenes represent a family of macrocyclic compounds with many unique properties including their ability to recognise and complex various ions and/or molecules. The precisely defined size and shape of their cavities together with well-established chemistry make these compounds a good choice for the role of building blocks and molecular scaffolds in the design of more elaborated supramolecular systems. The tuneable 3D shapes of the molecules, together with the opportunity to introduce selected functional groups into exactly defined mutual positions, allow for their application as highly selective ligands and receptors for many chemical species.
Reduction of the process contaminants 3(2)-MCPD and their esters content in refined palm oil
3-chloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) and some other chloropropanols represent an important group of food processing contaminants. The first report on 3-MCPD occurrence in acid-hydrolysed vegetable proteins and soy sauces was documented by professor Velisek (1978) from UCT Prague. Relatively high amounts of these “emerging” processing contaminants were found especially in refined palm oil. 3‑MCPD is considered as a probable carcinogen. 3-MCPD is formed from chlorine-containing compounds. The aim of this research is to find, characterize and eliminate these chlorinated precursors to prevent the formation of MCPD during palm oil refining.