With biotechnology, at the Repsol Technology Center, we are able to harness the potential of biological catalysts be they understood as enzymes (proteins with catalytic activity) or as whole microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts, and fungi). As a result, it is possible to carry out very specific chemical transformations and get better products that not only offer added value to the quality but maintain our firm commitment to the environment.
Our scientific researchers do not begin their work in the lab. Instead, it all begins in front of the computer where they select microorganisms or genes with interesting characteristics in order to insert them into microorganisms using tools.
Within biotechnology, we are able to study models and proteins’ behavior to later modify this behavior and adapt it to the needs of each project. Given the large number of proteins they want to test, we use robotic platforms to repeat the same tests on thousands of variants.
At Repsol, we focus on advanced biotechnology to address all the challenges associated with the entire scope of the oil & gas industry. At the Advanced Biology laboratory in the Repsol Technology Center, we observe nature to enhance the quality of crude and develop new components that are efficient and environmentally sustainable.
The LUXHOR PROJECT was launched to generate energy with a small carbon footprint, efficient energy, such as solar energy.
This Repsol Technology Center initiative puts state-of-the-art technology at the disposal of scientists and researchers who can use it to produce sustainable solar fuelsThis is done by artificially imitating the natural process of photosynthesis performed by plants, also known as the photoelectrocatalytic reduction of CO2. With a photoelectrocatalytic cell, using CO2 and water—and light as the main energy source—Repsol Technology Center experts are able to produce more complex molecules such as formic acid, methane, methanol, among others which can be used as fuel.
This technology also makes it possible to produce synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide molecules, which can be used as the starting point for many chemical processes. This means that not only can we produce solar fuels, but also the building blocks for generating even more complex products. In addition, this process generates hydrogen with a small carbon footprintcompared to the hydrogen generated from steam with great potential to reduce CO2 emissions if it replaces the conventional process.
For all of this to happen, artificial photosynthesis has to be performed in the presence of a set of structural and functional components that simulate the natural leaf system where photosynthesis normally occurs. Therefore, LUXHOR uses cutting-edge technology, namely a photoelectrochemical reactordeveloped by the research team at the Repsol Technology Center in cooperation with the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC in Catalan). This reactor is capable of capturing light efficiently and can perform the catalytic reactions that allow solar energy to be converted to chemical energy.