Chemical Process Engineering and Forest Products Research Centre

Environment, Reaction, Separation and Thermodynamics Group (GERST)

Research scope:

The research activities of GERST (Group on Environment, Reaction, Separation and Thermodynamics) focus the development of experimental and modelling work involving chemical reaction engineering and separation processes, thermodynamics and thermophysical properties and microbiology studies. Environment is our global aim either through pollution prevention and control of ecosystems or tackling public health apprehension within investigation of virus and bacteria with clinical impact.

Advanced environmental technologies are the heart of cutting-edge research on alternative strategies to conventional treatments of wastewaters, gaseous streams and contaminated soil for environmental sustainability. Water reuse, energy recovery, added value products extraction and solid residues valorization are inward goals lined up with ongoing projects. Design and operation of industrial plants bring up the need to imperatively address thermodynamic studies of simple components and their mixtures and fluids thermophysical properties. The emergence of ionic liquids (ILs) for novel catalysts formulation represents new challenges for enhanced production in the field of chemical reaction. Using membranes impregnated with ILs highly selective towards to heavy metal and organic pollutants leads to more efficient separations. Also, renewable energy sources aiming biodiesel production based on ionic liquids capacities has become a relevant target of our research theme.  Public health impact closes the cycle of our societal concern towards life quality, where virology and bacteriology research embraces human infection in hospital environment as well as identification of such harmful microorganisms in contaminated wastewater. Therefore, biological and chemical emerging contaminants spread on domestic water networks is also a stringent branch on our joined research.

These objectives are tuned under a continuous debate about new methodologies, concepts and ideas aiming the design, operation and optimization of novel reaction systems, separation techniques, bioaugmentation methodologies, waste handling, biofuels and ionic liquids alternatives, as well as microbiology life impact awareness, within a multidisciplinary research involving chemical engineering, environmental technology, agricultural resources and health sciences.

The main vocation of the Laboratory is doctoral and post-doctoral training, as well as master thesis and other research projects. The GERST research covers the following major areas:

Reaction Engineering
  • Catalysts and Multiphase Reactors
  • Computational Modelling
  • Advanced Oxidation Processes
  • Bioenergy and Bioaugmentation
  • Microbiology and Pollutants Impact on Public Health
Separation Engineering
  • Adsorptive Processes
  • Membranes Technologies
  • Hybrid Separation Techniques
  • Carbon Dioxide Sequestration 
Waste and Soil Engineering
  • Recycling/Valorization and Waste Management
  • Composting
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Soil Remediation
Thermodynamics and Thermophysical Properties
  • Gas-liquid solubility of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in aromatic solvents and ionic liquids.
  • Thermophysical properties of ionic liquids 
  • Measurement of thermal conductivity of IoNanofluids
  • Speed of sound in liquids
  • Biodiesel production
  • Cellulose and lignin extraction from biomass using clean technologies.

Relevant Publications


Martins, R.C., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M., (2014) A Review on the Applications of Ozonation for the Treatment of Real Agro-Industrial Wastewaters, Ozone Sci. Eng., 36, 3-35 (DOI:10.1080/01919512.2013.842158).

Pereira, S. G., Cardoso, O. (2014) Mobile genetic elements of Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from hydrotherapy facility and respiratory infections. Clin. Microbiol. Infect., 20, O203-O206 DOI: 10.1111/1469-0691.123589.

Martins, R.C., Henriques, L.R., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2013) Catalytic Activity of Low Cost Materials for Pollutants Abatement by Fenton’s Process, Chem. Eng. Sci., 100, 225-233 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2013.03.024).

Peres,  António M., Freitas, Patrícia, Dias, Luís G., Sousa, Mara E.B.C., Castro, Luís M., Veloso, Ana C. A. (2013) Cyclic voltammetry: A tool to quantify 2,4,6-trichloroanisole in aqueous samples from cork planks boiling industrial process. Talanta, 117, 438-444. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2013.09.039

Freitas, P., Dias, Luís G., Peres,  A. M., Castro, L. M., Veloso, A. C. A. (2012) Determination of 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole by Cyclic Voltammetry . Procedia Engineering, 47, 1125-1128. DOI: 10.1016/j.proeng.2012.09.349

Rossi, A.F., Amaral-Silva, N., Martins, R.C., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2012) Heterogeneous Fenton using ceria based catalysts: effects of the calcination temperature in the process efficiency. Appl. Catal. B, 111, 254-263. (doi:10.1016/j.apcatb.2011.10.006).

Martins, R.C. Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2011). Remediation of Phenolic Wastewaters by Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) at Ambient Conditions: Comparative Studies. Chem. Eng. Sci. 66, 3243-3250. (doi: 10.1016/j.ces.2011.02.023).

Pereira S. G., Paixão, J., Leitão, R., Cardoso, O. (2011) Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a hydropathic facility: diversity, susceptibility and imipenem resistance mutation. Lett Appl Microbiol., 53, 518-524 DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2011.03139.x

Martins, R.C.; Rossi, A.; Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2010). Fenton's Oxidation Process for Phenolic Wastewater Remediation and Biodegradability Enhancement. J.Hazard. Mater., 180, 716-721. (doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.04.098).

Martins, R.C., Amaral-Silva, N., Quinta-Ferreira, R. (2010) Ceria based solid catalysts for Fenton’s depuration of phenolic wastewaters: Biodegradability enhancement and toxicity removal. Appl. Catal. B. 99, 135-144 (DOI:10.1016/j.apcatb.2010.06.010).

Matos A, Duque V, Beato S, Poiares-da-Silva J, Major E, Meliço-Silvestre A. (2010) Characterization of JC human polyomavirus infection in a Portuguese population. Journal of Medical Virology. 82,494-504. DOI: 10.1002/jmv.21710.

Lopes, R.J.G., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2009). Turbulence Modelling of Multiphase Flow in High-Pressure Trickle-bed Reactors. Chem. Eng. Sci., 64, 1806-1819.

Martins, R.C., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M., (2009). Catalytic ozonation of phenolic acids over a Mn–Ce–O catalyst. Appl. Catal. B, 90, 1-2, 268-277 (DOI:10.1016/j.apcatb.2009.03.023).

Caetano, J., Martinho, A., Paiva, A., Pais, B., Valente, C. and Luxo, C. (2008) Differences in hepatitis C virus (HCV) -specific CD8-cell phenotype during pegylated alpha interferon and ribavirin treatment are related to response to antiviral therapy in patients chronically infected with HCV. J. Virology 82: 7567-7577. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.02175-07

Lopes, R.J.G., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2008). Three-Dimensional Numerical Simulation of Pressure Drop and Liquid Holdup for High-Pressure Trickle-Bed Reactor. Chem. Eng. J. 145 (1), 112-120.

Lopes, R.J.G., Silva, A.M.T., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M.. (2007). Screening of catalysts and effect of temperature for kinetic degradation studies of aromatic compounds during wet oxidation. Appl. Catal. B, 73, 193-202

Silva, A.M.T., Marques, R.R.N, Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2004). Catalysts Based in Cerium Oxide for Wet Oxidation of Acrylic Acid in the Prevention of Environmental. Appl. Catal. B., 47, 269-279.

Quina, M.M.J. e Quinta Ferreira, R.M. (1999). Thermal Runaway Conditions of a Partially Diluted Catalytic Reactor. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 38, 4615-4623.

Quinta-Ferreira, R.M., Almeida Costa, C.A., Rodrigues, A.E., (1996).Effect of Intraparticle convection on the Transient Behaviour of Fixed-Bed Reactors: Finite Differences and Collocation Methods for Solving Unidimensional Models, Comp. Chem. Eng., 20 (10), 1201-1225.


Lorena, F., Quina, M., Gando-Ferreira, Thomas, H., Gustavo, C. (2014) Solvent extraction studies for separation of Zn (II) and Mn (II) from spent leach solutions. Sep. Sci. Technol., 49, 3, 398-409. DOI:10.1080/01496395.2013.850510.

Moreira, M. and Gando-Ferreira, L. (2012) Separation of phenylalanine and tyrosine by ion-exchange using a strong-base anionic resin. II Cyclic adsorption/desorption studies. J. Biochem. Eng., 67, 241-250 (2012), DOI: 10.1016/j.bej.2012.06.010.

Fernandes, S., Romão, I., Carlos M.R. Abreu, Margarida J. Quina, and Licínio M. Gando-Ferreira (2012) Selective separation of Cr(III) and Fe(II) from liquid effluents using a chelating resin. Water Sci. Technol. DOI: 10.2166/wst.2012.406.

Romão, I., Nduagu, E., Fagerlund, J., L. M. Gando-Ferreira and Zevenhoven, R. (2012) CO2 fixation using magnesium silicate minerals. Part 2: Integration with iron-and steelmaking. Energy, 41, 1, 203-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.energy.2011.08.026.

Gando-Ferreira, L.M., Romão, I.S. and Quina, M. J. (2011) Equilibrium and kinetic studies on removal of Cu2+ and Cr3+ from aqueous solutions using a chelating resin. Chem. Eng. J., 172 (1), 277-286. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2011.05.105.

Fernandes, S. and Gando-Ferreira, L. (2011) Kinetic modeling analysis for the removal of Cr(III) by Diphonix resin. Chem. Eng. J, 172, 2-3, 623-633. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2011.06.020

Gomes, S., Cavaco, S.A., Quina, M.J., Gando-Ferreira, L.M. (2010) Nanofiltration process for separating Cr(III) from acid solutions: experimental and modelling analysis. Desalination, 254, 80-89. DOI: 10.1016/j.desal.2009.12.010.

Cavaco, S.A., Fernandes, S., Augusto, C.M., Quina, M.J., Gando-Ferreira, L.M. (2009) Evaluation of chelating ion-exchange resins for separating Cr(III) from industrial effluents. J. Hazard. Mater. 169, 1-3, 516-523. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.03.129

Cavaco, S. A., Fernandes, S., Quina, M.J., Ferreira, L.M. (2007) Removal of chromium from electroplating industry effluents by ion exchange resins. J. Hazard. Mater. 144, 3, 634-638. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.01.087.

Pais, J.A., Licínio Manuel G.A. Ferreira (2007) Performance study of an industrial RO plant for seawater desalination. Desalination, 208, 269-276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2006.06.017.


Quina, M.J., Bordado, J.C.M., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M. (2014) Recycling of air pollution control residues from municipal solid waste incineration into lightweight aggregates, Waste Management, 34, 430-438. DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.10.029

Quina, M.J., Bordado, J.C.M., Quinta-Ferreira, R.M.(2014) Stabilization/ solidification of APC residues from MSW incineration with hydraulic binders and chemical additives, J. Hazard. Mater., 264, 107-116. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2013.11.014

Soares, M.R., Quina, M.J., Quinta-Ferreira, R. (2013) Co-composting of eggshell waste in self- heating reactors: Monitoring and end-product quality, Bioresource Technology, 148, 293-301. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.08.151

Soares, M.R., Andrade, S., Martins, R.C., Quina, M.J., Quinta-Ferreira, R. (2012) Organic biowastes blend selection for composting industrial eggshell by-product: experimental and statistical mixture design, Water Science and Technology, 65, 1939-1945. DOI: 10.2166/wst.2012.090

Quina, M.J., Bordado, J.C.M. Quinta-Ferreira, R.M (2009) The Influence of pH on the leaching behaviour of inorganic components from municipal solid waste incineration apc residues, Waste Manage. 29, 2483-2493. DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2009.05.012

Quina, M.J., Bordado, J.C.M. Quinta-Ferreira, R.M (2008) Treatment and use of air pollution control residues from msw incineration: an overview, Waste Manage. 28(11), 2097-2121. DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2007.08.030

Quina, M.J., Santos, R.C., Bordado, J.C.M., Quinta-Ferreira R.M. (2008) Characterization of air pollution control residues produced in a municipal solid waste incinerator in Portugal, J. Hazard. Mater. 152 (2), 853-869. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2007.07.055


Lopes, A. F. G., Talavera-Prieto, M. del C., Ferreira, A. G. M., Santos, J. B., Santos, M. J., Portugal, A. T. G. (2014) Speed of sound in pure fatty acid methyl esters and biodiesel fuels, Fuel 116, 242-254. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2013.07.044)

Talavera-Prieto, N. M. del C., Ferreira, A.G.M., Simoes, P. N., Carvalho, P. J., Mattedi, S., Coutinho, J. A.P. (2014) Thermophysical characterization of N-methyl-2-hydroxyethylammonium carboxilate ionic liquids, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 68, 221-234.( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jct.2013.09.010)

Ferreira, A. G. M., Simões, P. N., Ferreira,A. F., Fonseca, M. A., Oliveira, M. S. A., Trino A. (2013) Transport and Thermal Properties of Quaternary Phosphonium Ionic Liquids and IoNanofluids, J. Chem. Thermodyn. 64, 80-92.

( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jct.2013.04.013)

Sousa, M.M.V. Granjo, J. F.O., Queimada, A. J., Ferreira, A.G.M., Oliveira, N. M.C., Fonseca, I. M.A., Fonseca (2013) Solubilities of hydrofluorocarbons in ionic liquids: Experimental and modelling study. J. Chem. Thermodyn.

( http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jct.2013.07.013)

Ferreira A. F., Simões P. N., Ferreira A. G. M. (2012) Quaternary phosphonium-based ionic liquids: Thermal stability and heat capacity of the liquid phase, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 45, 16–27.(doi:10.1016/j.jct.2011.08.019)

Ferreira, C. E., Talavera-Prieto, N. M. del C., Fonseca, I. M. A., Portugal, A. T. G., Ferreira, A. G. M. (2012) Measurements of pVT, viscosity, and surface tension of trihexyltetradecylphosphonium tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate ionic liquid and modelling with equations of state, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 47, 183–196.( doi:10.1016/j.jct.2011.10.012)

Ferreira, A. G. M., Lobo, L. Q., (2011) The low-pressure phase diagram of sulfur, J. Chem. Thermodyn. 43, 95-104.(doi:10.1016/j.jct.2010.07.007)

Gonçalves, F. A. M. M., Costa C. S. M. F., Ferreira C. E., Bernardo J. S., Johnson I., Fonseca I. M. A., Ferreira A. G. M. (2011) Pressure-volume-temperature (PVT) measurements of phosphonium-based ionic liquids and analysis with simple equations of state, J. Chem. Thermodyn. 43, 914-929.( doi:10.1016/j.jct.2011.01.009)

Sousa, J.M.M.V., Almeida, J.P.B., Ferreira A.G.M., Fachada, H.C., Fonseca, I.M.A. (2011) Solubility of HFCs in lower alcohols, Fluid Phase Equilibria 303, 115–119.( doi:10.1016/j.fluid.2011.01.003)

Rilo, E., Ferreira, A. G. M., Fonseca, I. M. A., Cabeza, O. (2010) Densities and derived thermodynamic properties of ternary mixtures 1-butyl-3-methyl-imidazolium tetrafluoroborate+ethanol+water at seven pressures and two temperatures, Fluid Phase Equilib. 296, 53-59.( doi:10.1016/j.fluid.2010.03.039)

Ferreira A.G.M., Lobo L.Q. (2009) The vaporization properties of krypton and xenon, Chem. Thermodyn. 41, 809-815. (doi:10.1016/j.jct.2009.01.015)

Gardas R. L., Freire, M. G., Carvalho, P. J., Marrucho, I. M., Fonseca, I. M. A., Ferreira, A. G. M., Coutinho, J. A. P. (2007) High-Pressure Densities and Derived Thermodynamic Properties of Imidazolium-Based Ionic Liquids, J. Chem. Eng. Data 52, 80-88.(DOI: 10.1021/je060247x)

Lobo L. Q., Fonseca I. M. A., Ferreira A.G.M., Senra A. M. P. (2006) Vapour pressure and excess Gibbs energy of the ternary system {x1CH3F + x2HCl + x3N2O} at temperature of T=182.33 K, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 38, 1532-1538.( doi:10.1016/j.jct.2006.04.010)

Lobo L. Q., Ferreira A.G.M., Fonseca I. M. A., Senra A. M. P.  (2006) Vapour pressure and excess Gibbs energy of binary mixtures of hydrogen sulphide with ethane, propane, and n-butane at temperature of 182.33 K, J. Chem. Thermodynamics 38, 1651-1654.( doi:10.1016/j.jct.2006.03.013)

Group members