Dr Daily RODRÍGUEZ-PADRÓN (Cuba)

Daily’s research focuses on the design of nanomaterials with potential applications in two significant fields: firstly in the design of energy storage devices and secondly in heterogeneous catalysis. In both cases, the aim is to develop more sustainable processes that contribute to climate change mitigation.

PhD in Chemistry

Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Organic Chemistry, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain

Research focus: design of nanomaterials through environmentally friendly processes for catalytic and electrochemical applications

Most of the challenges humanity faces today are related to energy and environment. Daily’s research on nanomaterials is dedicated to these two areas. First, Daily aims to find new materials with better electrochemical results for the development of a new generation of sustainable energy storage devices. In addition, due to the need of a more sustainable chemical industry with more efficient processes, her research has also been focused on the preparation of active and selective catalytic systems.

As an alternative to inorganic materials, organic electroactive products such as proteins have opened up new opportunities for the design of innovative energy storage devices with greater theoretical capacity, safety, sustainability, and low cost. Rechargeable batteries and electrochemical supercapacitors are among the most representative examples of energy storage devices.

One of Daily’s research lines aimed to synthesize hybrid nanostructures of metalloproteins and nanoparticles through a mechanochemical method as a cheap, sustainable, and versatile strategy, for the design of a new generation of electrochemical supercapacitors.

Biomass valorisation has also been one of the main issues covered in Daily’s work, towards both chemicals and materials. The use of biomass-derived platform molecules for the preparation of added-value chemicals replacing the petro-based chemical industry is a highly attractive option. In particular, Daily has employed biomass-derived platform molecules such as levulinic acid and isoeugenol for the synthesis of N-heterocycles and vanillin, respectively.

It is important to highlight that, through the valorisation of biomass added-value nanomaterials can be obtained using an environmentally friendly method. In this regard, several biomass residues, including spent coffee grounds, egg-white from expired eggs, and orange peel have been treated by mechanochemical protocols for the preparation of nanostructured materials with controlled morphology and textural properties.

The jury was impressed by Daily’s excellent research on this highly relevant, innovative issue and by her great interest in putting academic knowledge into practice.