José Estrada

José is a Senior Researcher at the University of Valladolid in Zaragoza, Spain, currently working within the URBIOFIN EU_2020 project at the CIAM Research Centre, run by major waste company, URBASER. His main responsibility is to act as a technical project manager in charge of the design, construction and operation of biological biogas upgrading plants at pilot and demo scale. On a day-to-day basis, José is involved in coordinating suppliers and partners, designing sampling campaigns, lab analysis, and ensuring continuous operation of the pilot plants.

URBIOFIN is a European project with € 15M funding, involving the collaboration of fourteen private organisations and two universities from eight different EU countries. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the techno-economic viability of the Urban Biorefinery concept and to change the traditional treatment of organic waste. In this model, organic waste is used as a raw material to produce bioproducts such as biopolymers, chemical building blocks, additives, fertilisers and fuels. His work specifically focuses on the biological processes for biogas upgrading and bioplastic production.

Completing his PhD studies in Spain, José specialised in the biological treatment of odours and air pollution. In 2014, he moved to London to work as a Research Fellow at London South Bank University, focusing in wastewater treatment and engineering. Subsequently, he decided to change to a career as an Air Quality Consultant at environmental consultancy, Temple Group, switching from academia to the private sector. During this time, he worked on several prominent construction and infrastructure projects, including the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail), Northern Line extension, HS2 and the construction of 11,000 homes at Barking Riverside in East London. This role enhanced his understanding of the private environmental sector and life beyond the traditional academic career path. In 2017, he decided to return to Spain to pursue his current position.

José is a Full Member of the IES and an Associate Member of the IAQM. He joined the IES as an Associate in April 2015, regrading to Full Member in January 2018.

“When transitioning from academia to the private sector in the UK, I found it difficult to translate my CV and experience into a language that would be attractive for private companies. Becoming a member of the IES really helped in that aspect: it worked as a ‘seal of approval’.”

In addition to his current role, José is working with a young but experienced team on a new start-up, Trovant Technology. The organisation aims to become a key player in the scale-up and development of innovative biotechnology solutions for environmental applications, offering tailored consultancy and R&D services. He is currently receiving entrepreneurial training and working towards securing funding for the project.

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