Dr. María José Rivero Martínez is Associate Professor since 2012 and carries out her activity in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of the University of Cantabria. Trained as an Industrial Engineer in the specialty of Industrial Chemistry, she obtained a Doctorate from the University of Cantabria in 2002. Most of her research has been focused on the treatment of aqueous streams. She began working on membrane separation processes, ion exchange and adsorption; to continue with Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) such as Fenton, photo-Fenton, electrochemical oxidation, and photocatalysis. A remarkable core of the work has been devoted to the treatment of landfill leachates through several of these technologies. From this research several publications in indexed journals and two doctoral theses read in 2008 and 2013 have been derived. In this type of treatments the reduction of global pollution parameters such as total organic carbon, the study of the elimination of emerging contaminants, as well as intermediate compounds that may be formed during the process and variations in the biodegradability of the treated effluent have been the main objectives of these studies.
After a 6-month postdoctoral stay at Cranfield University (United Kingdom) she has dedicated much of her research to improve the design of photocatalytic reactors with the aim of optimizing the energy efficiency, for example through the use of new systems of LED lighting. In this same field of expertise, she is currently working on the design of new catalysts. Some of them based on particles with magnetic properties that facilitates their separation and subsequent reuse. Other type of particles are synthesized with graphene oxide, which is intended to improve properties of the catalyst and modify the bandgap so that they can be activated in the presence of solar radiation. The third type of catalysts studied includes metals so that the plasmonic effect improves photocatalytic results. Some of the new materials have been also used for the photocatalytic generation of hydrogen. This research has led to 5 theses defenced between 2017 and 2021.