Luis Rafael López


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Address: Departament d'Enginyeria Química
08193 - Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona)
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Research ID: AAV-2395-2020


Luis R. López de León is a Chemical Engineer from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, 2011). His research career began in 2011 after obtaining a 4-year grant from the UAB (“Personal Investigador en Formación”) to carry out a doctorate thesis in the research line of treatment and valorization of gaseous effluents under the supervision of Dr. David Gabriel, member of GENOCOV research group of the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. His doctoral thesis, defended in May 2016, aimed to develop control strategies in biotrickling filters for the removal of hydrogen sulfide from biogas streams. During his Ph.D studies he spent 6 months at the University of Ghent under the supervision of Prof. E. Volcke, an expert in biological process control. This stay allowed him to obtain the Mention of International Doctor. His doctoral thesis was carried out within a framework of interdisciplinary collaborations with members of GENOCOV and members of other universities such as the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC-Manresa), the University of Delft (TU Delft) and the University of Ghent (UGent). During his predoctoral stage, he carried out teaching tasks within the degree program of Chemical Engineering of the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at UAB, in addition to training and supervision tasks, managing to supervise 1 final degree project and 2 final master’s projects.

From April 2017 to May 2020, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University in North Carolina (USA) under the supervision of Prof. Marc Deshusses, a referent researcher in the field of environmental engineering. During his time at Duke University, he leaded an R&D project on the development of microbioreactors for the removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air. In addition, he participated as specialist technician in a second R & D + I project related to the reduction of gaseous emissions derived from the treatment of solid waste generated in a pig farm. The work carried out at Duke University allowed the development of new prototypes of microbioreactors using innovative techniques such as 3D printing, achieving designs with high VOC elimination capacities. In September 2020, he joined UAB to work as an associate professor in the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. In addition, he is participating in the co-supervision of a final master’s thesis together with Dr. David Gabriel framed within a European project (RECYCLES). In January 2021, Luis was hired as a Postdoctoral researcher to supervise the execution of a work package within a European project (NIMBUS-LIFE) coordinated by CETAQUA and the UAB, among other partners. The project aims to improve the circular economy between the city and wastewater treatment plants through the implementation of a new sustainable model: the eco-factory through the use of waste from treatment plants to produce gas fuel (biomethane) to promote green transport in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

He has participated in 5 national projects and in 3 international projects (USA) within the field of biotechnology and environmental engineering. As a result of his research, he has contributed to the publication of 11 international peer-reviewed papers, 10 of them in the first quartile such as Chemical Engineering Journal, Water Research and Environmental Science and Technology (EST). He has presented so far in 15 international scientific conferences, attending personally in 7 of them. According to SCOPUS he has 162 citations by 125 documents and a h index of 7. He has collaborated as reviewer in multiple times for peer reviewed international journals such as Chemical Engineering Journal, Water Research, Chemosphere, between others. Since January 2021, he is member of the reviewer board of the journal “Processes” an open access journal member from MDPI.

Keywords describing research interests: biogas desulfurization, bioreactors, process control, mathematical modeling, microbioreactors, indoor air quality, resource recovery.

Luis current research interests are:
• Development and optimization of biological technologies through experimentation and mathematical modeling
• Design of technologies capable of transforming waste or by product of industrial processes into value-added products promoting circular economy.
• Design of microbioreactors to enhance mass transfer and reaction rate of biological processes.
• Development of carbon dioxide capture technologies to improve indoor air quality.
• Production of biopolymers (PHA) from carbon dioxide emissions generated in combustion processes.

1. Mora, M., López, L.R., Gamisans, X., Gabriel, D. (2014). Coupling respirometry and titrimetry for the characterization of the biological activity of a SO-NR consortium. Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol. 251, p. 111-115. IF: 8.355 (2018).
2. Montebello, A.M., Mora, M., López, L.R., Bezerra, T., Gamisans, X., Lafuente, J., Baeza, M., Gabriel, D., (2014). Aerobic desulfurization of biogas by acidic biotrickling filtration in a randomly packed reactor. Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 280, p. 200-208. IF: 8.075 (2018).
3. Mora, M., López, L.R., Lafuente, J., Pérez, J., Kleerebezem, R., Loosdrecht, M. Van, Gamisans, X., Gabriel, D., (2016). Respirometric characterization of aerobic sulfide, thiosulfate, and elemental sulfur oxidation by S-oxidizing biomass. Water Research. Vol.89, p. 282-292. IF: 2.659 (2018).
4. López, L.R., Bezerra, T., Mora, M., Lafuente, J., Gabriel, D., (2016). Influence of trickling liquid velocity and flow pattern in the improvement of oxygen transport in aerobic biotrickling filters for biogas desulfurization. Chemical Technology and Biotechnology. Vol. 91, p. 1031-1039. IF: 2.659 (2018).
5. López, L.R., Dorado, A.D., Gabriel, D., Mora, M., Gamisans, X., Lafuente J., (2016). Modeling an aerobic biotrickling filter for biogas desulfurization through a multi-step oxidation mechanism. Journal of Chemical Engineering. Vol. 294, p 447-457. IF: 7.65 (2018).
6. López, L.R., Brito, J., Mora, M., Almenglo, F., Baeza, J., Ramírez, M., Lafuente, J., Cantero, D., Gabriel, D., (2016). Feedforward control application in aerobic and anoxic biotrickling filters for H2S removal from biogas. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology, Vol. 93. 2307-2315. IF: 2.659 (2018).
7. López, L.R., Mora, M., Baeza, J.A., Lafuente, J., Gabriel, D., (2019). Titrimetry as a tool for the on-line monitoring of biological activity in a desulfurizing biotrickling filter under aerobic conditions. Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Vol 124, p. 151-157. IF: 4.84 (2018).
8. López, L.R., Deaton, K. E, Deshusses, M.A., (2019). Miniaturized Biotrickling Filters and Capillary microbioreactor for Process Intensification of VOC Treatment with Intended Application to Indoor Air. Environmental Science and Technology, 53 (3), pp 1518–1526. IF: 7.149 (2018)
9. López, L.R., Deaton, K., Junkins, J., Deshusses, M.A., (2020). Capillary microbioreactors for VOC vapor treatment: Impacts of operating conditions. Chemosphere, 258, pp 127286. IF: 5.778 (2018)
10. Guimerà, X., Mora, M., López, L.R., Gabriel, G., Dorado, A.D., Lafuente, J., Gamisans, X., Gabriel, D., (2020). Coupling dissolved oxygen microsensors measurements and heterogeneous respirometry for monitoring and modeling microbial activity within sulfide-oxidizing biofilms. Journal of Chemical Engineering, 400, pp 125846. IF 7.65 (2018).

- New about the work done by Dr. Lopez about MBs using 3D printing technology, the news was published at Duke University web site on October 14th, 2018.
- Co-author of “El País Que Viene: Jovenes en el exterior.” 2016. El Salvador. A book that collects 60 histories of the Salvadorean young people living in all the continents in the world, exploring their talent, passion, and their vision of a new El Salvador for the coming years. Link to the release of the book:



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