Biohydrogen - biogas - waste recovery - bioplastics - bioplastics

Octavio García Depraect

Environmental Technologies Environmental Technology Institute for Sustainable Processes
My research career

I studied Biochemical Engineering at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, with a research thesis focused on the study of the extrusion process for the generation of antioxidant-rich snacks.

Afterwards, I did a Master of Science in Bioprocesses at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City, where the research topic was the removal of heavy metals using sulphate reduction. During my MSc I did a short research stay at IHE Delft Institute for Water Education.

More recently, in April 2019 I obtained a PhD degree in Biotechnological Innovation Sciences from CIATEJ (Mexico). During my PhD, I investigated the production of biohydrogen by lactic fermentation from tequila stillage, as well as its subsequent integration into anaerobic digestion for biogas production.

In 2018, I carried out another short research stay at the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology of the University of Valladolid (UVa).

In 2019-2020, I participated, as a postdoctoral researcher at CIATEJ, in a macro project on gaseous biofuels.

In mid-2020, I migrated to Spain to be hired by UVa for a research contract focused on the valorisation and biodegradation of bioplastics. In 2021 I started a 2-year Marie Curie IF contract at the Institute for Sustainable Processes (ISP) at UVa in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and the leading environmental management company Urbaser. I am currently a Ramón y Cajal Researcher in the Environmental Technology research group at the ISP.

My research

I study the biological production of biohydrogen from biomass, mainly lignocellulosic waste, municipal and agro-industrial organic waste, as well as industrial wastewater. Of particular interest are the dark fermentation pathways based on the microbial association between lactic acid bacteria and hydrogen producing bacteria.

I also study fermentation processes for the valorisation of waste biomass by obtaining value-added products of industrial interest, e.g. organic acids, biopolymers.

Another line of research in which I am involved is anaerobic digestion of biomass, including the use of integrated two-stage processes. Recently, I am interested in investigating biodegradation processes of biodegradable polymeric materials, as well as those pre-treatments that facilitate their depolymerisation and subsequent biotransformation into products of interest such as biogas and organic acids (upcycling). The valorisation of biogas through its transformation into bioplastics and ectoin is another line of research in the pipeline.

My vision is to develop a high level of intellectual independence that will allow me to lead in my area or field of research at national and international level, as well as to enhance teamwork with research groups. Of course, my vision includes not only making a significant contribution to scientific innovation and excellence, but also contributing to the training of students and researchers in training.