Dr Sharon Velasquez Orta is a lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials in Newcastle University. Before persuing an academic career, Dr Velasquez Orta acquired experience in environmental industrial processes and the research of environmental systems.
2005 – 2009 Integrated PhD in Environmental Sciences Schools of Civil Engineering & Geosciences and, Chemical Engineering & Advanced Materials.Thesis: Bioelectricity production from organic compounds using Microbial Fuel Cells.
2007 – 2009 Postgraduate Certificate in Advance Studies in Academic Practice Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
2005 – 2006 MSc in Environmental Engineering courses School of Civil Engineering & Geosciences
1999 – 2003 BEng in Chemical Engineering School of Chemical Sciences. Dissertation: Sequential and continuous industrial process simulation and control (Univ. of South Florida, USA).
Since 2009 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Since 2007 Affiliate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Since 2005 Member of the International Water association
2006-2009 Member of Society of Chemical Industry
September 2011 - Spotlight award given by the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials
October 2010 – Invited to present a poster in the International Review of Energy organized by EPSRC
April 2010 – Shortlisted candidate by the Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC to obtain a Research Fellowship at Newcastle University to gain research independence in energy from wastes.
Marc, 2009 - Nominated to the Newcastle student achievement award in the environmental impact category.
June, 2009 – present. Invited research article reviewer for: Bioresource & Technology; Microbiology & Biotechnology; Fuels; Journal of Chemical Engineering
April 2008 – Awarded best conference poster in the 9th UK International Water Association Conference for Young Professionals
2012 - Knowledge Transfer Partnership (£14K) Partnership with Palintest Ltd. to commercialise a biosensor
Languages English (fluent), French (fluent), Spanish (native speaker)
My research involves the evaluation of new environmental technologies that can achieve both energy generation and waste remediation. I am interested in the production of renewable energy from liquid, solid wastes and microalgae by applying bioelectrochemical, chemical and thermal techniques.
Microbial Fuel Cell Technology: Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) is a technology that enables wastewater treatment and electricity generation. MFCs utilise various organic electron donors under anaerobic conditions and directly transform chemical energy into electrical energy via a series of electrochemical reactions. I have studied the effect of different organic wastewaters, novel mediator compounds and organic loading rates on bioelectricity production, organic matter removal and microbial diversity.
Projects: Collaboration with Palintest Ltd: This project investigates the use of microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology as a biosensor to facilitate the continuous and on-line monitoring of organic matter content in wastewater. Organic matter is a parameter internationally reported in terms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). Analysis of BOD in wastewater helps maintain adequate removal efficiency in treatment works.
Collaboration with Ngee Ann (Singapore): Development of low cost microbial fuel cells to produce energy: This project analyses the application of microbial fuel cells for developing countries. It includes the evaluation of low cost materials, microbiological performance and municipal wastewater treatment.
To know more about this research visit: http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/sharon.velasquez-orta/
Key article: Factors affecting current production in microbial fuel cells using different industrial wastewaters(2011) Bioresource Technology 102(80)
Biofuel production: Biofuel can be produced from wastewater sludge and microalgae using in situ transesterification and catalytic cracking. These two processes offer several advantages such as the elimination of the oil extraction step, potential improvement on biofuel yield, and reduction in the transportation of intermediate products. In situ transesterification is utilised for biodiesel production while catalytic cracking can produce several types of biofuels such as methane, biodiesel and jet fuel.
Projects: Collaboration with UNAM University (Mexico): This project involves the technical, economical and process evaluation of biodiesel production from different single and mixed cultures of microalgae. It analyses the use of waste resources as source of nutrients and the technological application for developing countries.
To know more about this field of research visit: http://pig.ncl.ac.uk
Key article: Alkaline in situ transesterification of Chlorella vulgaris (2011) Fuel, in press
Sustainable Engineering Systems: Collaboration with SECURE (Self Conserving Urban Environments): Life cycle analysis to determine the energy use and carbon emissions produced during the transportation, treatment and final disposal of solid wastes, wastewater produced in the North East of England.
To know more about this research visit: https://www.secure-project.org/