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Universidade do Porto

With origins dating back to the eighteenth century, the University of Porto is currently one the most prestigious Higher Education Institutions of Europe. Close to 32,000 students, 2,400 teachers and researchers along with 1,600 administrative staff attend its 15 schools and 60 scientific research units, spread across 3 university campuses located in the city of Porto.

With 14 faculties and a business school, the University of Porto provides an exceptional variety of courses, covering the whole range of study areas and all levels of higher education. In fact, offering over 600 training programmes per year (from degrees to continuous professional training), the University of Porto has teaching solutions for everyone.

LEPABE – Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy

from the Faculty of Engineering (FEUP) of the University of Porto


The Faculty of Engineering (FEUP) is the largest faculty of the University of Porto, with about 8 440 students and 577 teachers and researchers across 9 departments. It is located in the Asprela Campus, the main university campus in the city of Porto.

At the University of Porto, the project will be developed by the Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy (LEPABE), a research unit of the Chemical Engineering Department in FEUP, the largest Engineering Faculty in the country. LEPABE has been evaluated as “Excellent” in consecutive external evaluations appointed by FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia). It counts with approximately 180 researchers, among which about 90 have doctoral degrees. The strategic vision of LEPABE consists in using chemical and biological engineering knowledge to develop new processes and products improving the quality of life, in a sustainable and environmentally safe manner. The guiding principle “From Science to Innovation” condenses the mission of this Research Unit.

LEPABE’s research is based on multidisciplinary expertise, involving such diverse topics as analytical chemistry, photochemistry, microbiology or polymer science. This allows for a unique articulation of scientific skills from different areas, not only to achieve progress in scientific knowledge, but also to effectively deliver innovative technologies to society. This is evidenced by the significant number of patents and projects with industrial partners. The challenges tackled by LEPABE are mostly related to the environment-energy-health triangle. In fact, LEPABE’s activities try to respond to the society’s need for new products and energy-sustainable processes, combining eco-efficiency and health concerns with economically sound design and operation.

The SunStorage project will be developed under the responsibility of Prof. Adélio Mendes who leads the Energy, Processes and Products area inside LEPABE. The Processes, Products and Energy research line integrates researchers devoted to fundamental chemical engineering topics on processes and products, with a special focus on energy. In partnership with several national and international companies, novel solutions are developed to ensure a sustainable development. Research efforts are directed towards the development of high-tech wood-based products, polymer composites and coatings and bioactive compounds for clinical use.

Energy, an issue of high societal importance, is the main focus of this research line. A dual approach has been followed. On the one hand advanced solutions for production of renewable energies, namely by photoelectrochemical systems, are being developed, on the other hand, new catalysts are found for low CO methanol based steam reforming.

Major research topics:

  • Processes – chemical, electrochemical and photoelectrochemical reaction processes and separation processes; reaction processes are mainly concerned to energy topics, while separation processes are pressure swing adsorption and membrane based, where carbon molecular sieve membrane synthesis and characterization should be highlighted.
  • Products – polymer materials (adhesives, coatings, additives), products related to the national forest (wood and cork based composites), graphene-based composites, biosourced materials for industrial applications, chemistry and activity of natural compounds.
  • Energy – special emphasis is given to photoelectrochemical systems (dye sensitized solar cells, perovskite solar cells, photoelectrochemical cells for water splitting, solar redox flow batteries, photoelectroreduction of CO2), electrochemical systems (PEMFC, HT-PEMFC, H-SOFC, redox flow batteries). Concerning fuels, emphasis to new catalysts has been paid with great successes in the development of a new methanol steam reforming catalyst with low CO production, very low temperature water gas shift and a new electrochemical graphene-based catalyst for dye sensitized solar cells.

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