Dr Andrea GUTIERREZ (Bolivia)

Andrea’s academic approach focuses on the development of new concepts for thermal energy storage with phase change materials as a medium of storage. The systems should operate at high temperature and at high energy storage density levels. In addition, the investment costs need to be reduced; as a consequence the adaptation of low cost/highly available materials as storage medium is a crucial task on her position at German Aerospace Center (DLR).

PhD in Mineral Processing Engineering

Current position: Research Associate at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany

Research focus: new concepts for thermal energy storage with phase change materials; adaptation of low cost/highly available materials for applications at high temperatures and high energy storage density

Furthermore, she currently deals with the management of a new International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Conservation through Energy Storage (ECES) Annex 36 on Carnot Batteries, where DLR is the operating agent. The IEA ECES Annex 36 aims to establish a platform that brings together experts from the industry and academia, to systematically investigate, assess, and strengthen the potential role of Carnot Batteries in the future energy systems gaining international attention.

During her doctoral research, she developed new low-cost thermal energy storage materials with wastes from the non-metallic mining industry in Chile.

2016 DLR/DAAD Postdoctoral Fellow, Germany
2015 Research Stay Funding from the Ministry of Education of Chile Energy Programme

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2015):

University of Antofagasta, Chile

Research focus: designing thermal energy storage materials based on waste materials from the metal industry

With a PhD in Mineral Engineering, Bolivian-native Andrea Gutierrez focuses her studies on energy and waste management. Her scientific background offers an innovative approach for the mining industry in Chile. Andrea aims to demonstrate the enormous potential of developing new materials for thermal energy storage, based on waste.

The objective of Andrea’s research is to develop new low cost thermal energy storage (TES) with materials from waste products from the metal mining industry. Thermal energy sources can be both solar energy and the industrial waste heat. The waste materials that are being used for her current study come mainly from the copper industry. Not only does this waste contain metal oxides which improve the conductivity of these materials, but they also have a wide range of thermal stability from 0°C to 1000°C, which makes it possible to use them as sensible heat storage materials. Andrea states that another important advantage of these waste materials is their prevalence in Chile; the country has an enormous mining industry, extracting a great amount of copper, along with other metals.

Andrea graduated from the Bolivian Universidad Mayor de San Simon with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 2011. After this, Andrea took her PhD at University of Antofagasta, focusing on TES materials based on waste materials from non-metallic industry, she received two Chilean scholarships to realise the project. Her pre-doctoral research at the Universitat de Lleida in Spain gave her the chance to perform experimental research with a focus on the improvement of the thermal properties of waste materials from non-metallic industries both in the lab and also piloting them at the plant.

The jury praised Andrea’s interdisciplinary and novel approach to a field of growing importance. They believe that participating in the Green Talents Forum will extend her multidisciplinary scientific network and help her to continue her research on the reduction of CO2 emissions.