Favourite Thing: Get into a Chemistry lab and make things change colour!
University of Zaragoza (Spain)
PhD Chemical Engineering
I worked for the Spanish National Reserach Council and for Bristol University
Newton International Royal Society Fellow
University of Bristol
Me and my work
Make new materials for energy
We are running out of fossil fuels in the planet, so renewable sources need to be found to power our planet. One of them is solar energy, however, it can be stored when it is not sunny. What would we do on cloudy days, then? Which are likely to happen in the UK…
Well, solar energy can be converted into chemical energy. Plant photosynthesis demonstrates the practicality of the conversion of sunlight to chemical fuels. Plants absorb light which they convert into their food, so why don’t we do that??
Water is composed of hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2)., right? This H2 can be used as a fuel in what is called “fuel cells”, so why don’t split water and store that H2? That is the idea of my research. I develop new materials based on oxides of abundant elements, which can absorb sun light, and with this energy split the H2O molecule!
Looks easy…but there are still plenty of challenges to be covered.
My Typical Day
When you do science there is not such a thing, everyday is unique!
What I'd do with the money
H-Racer Hydrogen & Solar Educational Experiments Kit
With my research group, we participate in science fairs with schools. If I win the prize, I would like to buy a H-Racer Hydrogen & Solar Educational Experiments Kit to take with me when we demonstrate in schools.
Basically, the H-racer is the world’s smallest hydrogen car!! Only 6″ long!!! There is a refueling station, which creates hydrogen by electrolysis using water (same than I do in labs!), and once the car’s hydrogen tank is full, the car can run on its own hydrogen fuel-cell system. It uses a solar panel
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Mmmm, tough one! probably my brother’s band, they sing in spanish, though
What's your favourite food?
Curry, without a doub!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to be a doctor, I think because my mum is a doctor. But thinking about it…better not, too much things to learn by heart!
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
To be fair, not really…
What was your favourite subject at school?
It might sound that I am liying…but it was actually Chemistry! My A level teacher was fantastic!
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Make undergrad students like research! It is fantastic to see how do they get involved in what you do
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My Science teacher at A levels. She took us to a chemistry lab! From then on, I haven’t been able to get out!
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Tell us a joke.
To synthesise my materials, I fist dissolve the metal salts in water, such a colourful solutions!
This image shows the materials I prepare and how do they look in different microscopes
One of the microscopes I use to observe my materials
To do my experiments and test my materials, I have to shine light on them. For that, I use this set up “faking” sun light with that little green bulb