Enhanced TPB-3rd phase biorefinery lactic acid and amino acid generation and recovery.

The “Green Biorefinery” process – initially developed in TUW and TBW to receive lactic acid and amino acids from grass silage press liquor – shall be improved by specific analytics of the grass-silage leachates, by optimising downstream AA and LA purification processes including membrane separation (ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, electrodialysis, diafiltration concepts) and chromatographic separation, and by the implementation of novel technologies that could significantly increase cost effectiveness and product quality.

Initially based in TUW and under the supervision of Prof. Harasek with input from Mr. Mandl (TBW), the successful candidate will:

  • Operate lab-scale separation equipment to identify key process parameters (ultrafiltration, nanofiltration / electrodialysis for LA, nanofiltration and chromato-graphic process for AAs),
  • Derive and implement an ASPEN process simulation toolbox of the downstream process,
  • Find new and optimise current downstream processing strategies through process simulation with regard to product quality, resource and energy efficiency,
  • Get trained at UCD for 3 months under the supervision of Prof. Murphy on both biosensor operation and contaminant removal processes,
  • Move to Innolab (Belgium) under the supervision of Mr. Willems to receive an understanding of their expansive analytical and AD simulation technologies.

I was born in Calama city in the north of Chile. I studied a bachelors in biotechnology and a master’s in minerals processing engineering at the Universidad de Antofagasta.

Since I was a child, I always wanted to be a scientist and that’s why I decided to be a biotechnologist. When I was at university, I was awarded a scholarship twice to improve my English skills at the University of Leeds, England. For my bachelor’s, I worked with microalgae and biogas production. I did an internship at the University of Chemical Technology of Prague on anaerobic digestion with microalgae for 18 months with a Marie Curie Project (FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IRSES – Marie Curie Action “International Research Staff Exchange Scheme”).

For my masters, I worked with electrodialysis, specifically in the separation process of lithium brine  to get a high concentration of lithium type battery grade. After my studies, I started work as a chemistry and physics teacher in a high school in my city. I motivated young students to become scientists, and we participated in many school conferences and even Antarctic conferences.

My interests are biotechnology, environmental assessment, electrodialysis and teaching.

A fun fact is that I tried six times to get a scholarship for PhD studies until I found an AgRefine project which changed my life completely.

My favourite quote is “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier.

My favourite place in the world is the Atacama desert where I come from.