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Professor Sandra Esteves - University Alliance. Pontypridd, Wales, GB

Professor Sandra Esteves

Professor in Bioprocess Technology for Resource Recovery and Director of the Wales Centre for Excellence in Anaerobic Digestion | University of South Wales

Pontypridd, Wales, UNITED KINGDOM

Her expertise is in recovery from waste and the production of useful and re-usable waste content mainly for energy use.

Areas of Expertise (3)



Waste Recycling


Professor Sandra Esteves is Professor in Bioprocess Technology for Resource Recovery and Director of the Wales Centre for Excellence in Anaerobic Digestion at the University of South Wales. Her expertise is in recovery from waste (such as food waste, animal slurries, and sewage) and the production of useful and re-usable waste content mainly for energy use. She looks at the biological processes of the breakdown and re-use of waste - for applications in bio-energy, fuel gases, chemical feedstocks and polymers.

Sandra has undertaken projects with several industrial partners including Flogas Britain, Wales and West Utilities, and Welsh Water. She is part of the Scientific Advisory Council of the European Biogas Association and the UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association’s Cost Competitiveness Task Force. She has been previously work in Health and Safety and as an Environmental Officer for Delphi Automotive Systems in Portugal as well as an environmental consultant for the town of Seia in Portugal.

Media Mentions (1)

The Problem with Plastic

BBC Radio Wales Science Café  online


This week, Adam Walton explores what new forms of packaging are being engineered, to help us overcome our dependency on plastic. He is joined by senior research fellow at the University of Bangor, Dr Adam Charlton and biologists, Dr David Bryant and Dr Jessica Adams from Aberystwyth University. Plus Professor Sandra Estaves from the University of the South of Wales joins Adam to talk bioplastics.

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Multimedia Appearances


Professor Sandra Esteves Publication





Education (3)

Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal): Portuguese Doctorate Equivalence 2002

University of Glamorgan (now University of South Wales): Ph.D. 2002

University of Glamorgan (now University of South Wales): B.Sc., Energy and Environmental Technology 1996

Affiliations (4)

  • International Water Association
  • Renewable Energy Association, UK (Representation on the Bioenergy Strategy Green Gas Group)
  • Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresource Association, UK (Representation on the UK ADBA Cost Competitiveness Task Force)
  • European Biogas Association (Represent the UK at EBA’s Scientific Advisory Council)

Articles (3)

Using microalgae in the circular economy to valorise anaerobic digestate: Challenges and Opportunities

Bioresource Technology

Stiles WAV., Styles D, Chapman SP, Esteves S, Bywater A, Melville L, Silkina A, Lupatsch I, Grünewald CF, Lovitt R, Chaloner T, Bull A, Morris C, Llewellyn CA

2018 Managing organic waste streams is a major challenge for the agricultural industry. Anaerobic digestion (AD) oforganic wastes is a preferred option in the waste management hierarchy, as this process can generate renew-able energy, reduce emissions from waste storage, and produce fertiliser material. However, Nitrate VulnerableZone legislation and seasonal restrictions can limit the use of digestate on agricultural land. In this paper wedemonstrate the potential of cultivating microalgae on digestate as a feedstock, either directly after dilution, orindirectly from effluent remaining after biofertiliser extraction. Resultant microalgal biomass can then be used toproduce livestock feed, biofuel or for higher value bio-products. The approach could mitigate for possible re-gional excesses, and substitute conventional high-impact products with bio-resources, enhancing sustainability

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Methanogenic Capacity and Robustness of Hydrogenotrophic Cultures based on Closed Nutrient Recycling via Microbial Catabolism: Impact of Temperature and Microbial Attachment

Bioresource Technology

Savvas S, Donnelly J, Patterson T, Chong Z and Esteves S

2018 A biological methanation system based on nutrient recycling via mixed culture microbial catabolism was investigated at mesophilic (37 °C) and thermophilic (55 °C) temperatures. At mesophilic temperatures, the formation of biofilms on two different types of material was assessed. Results showed that with intense mixing the biofilm reactors presented methanogenic capacities (per working volume) 50% higher than the ones operated with suspended cultures. Gas feeding rates of 200 L/L/d were achieved at a H2/CO2to CH4conversion efficiency of above 90% by linking two reactors in series. Furthermore the robustness of the cultures was assessed under a series of inhibitory conditions that simulated possible process interferences at full scale operation. Full recovery after separate intense oxygenation and long starvation periods was observed within 2-5 days.

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Integration of Power to Methane in a Waste Water Treatment Plant – A Feasibility Study

Bioresource Technology

Patterson T, Savvas S, Chong Z., Law I, Dinsdale R and Esteves S

2017 The integration of a biomethanation system within a wastewater treatment plant for conversion of CO2 and H2 to CH4 has been studied. Results indicate that the CO2 could be utilised to produce an additional 13,420m(3)/day of CH4, equivalent to approximately 133,826kWh of energy. The whole conversion process including electrolysis was found to have an energetic efficiency of 66.2%. The currently un-optimised biomethanation element of the process had a parasitic load of 19.9% of produced energy and strategies to reduce this to

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