Proyecto para extracción eco-eficiente de metales críticos

Investigadores de DIMAS participan en SULFOMETAE (RTC-2017-6619-5), un proyecto para la extracción de metales críticos a partir de menas con sulfuros. En concreto, se está trabajando en un novedoso sistema de microondas para realizar un tratamiento selectivo de menas metálicas complejas con alto contenido en sulfuros para la concentración y extracción polimetálica, y la simultánea obtención de derivados de azufre como producto comercial.

Para ello, ha sido determinante una primera etapa para obtener el conocimiento de las reacciones y entre los campos electromagnéticos en el intervalo de frecuencias de las microondas de los sulfuros metálicos y de los productos de reacción, así como los efectos físicos y químicos producidos con la exposición. Igualmente, se han estudiado los efectos no térmicos pero determinantes para los procesos, a través de parámetros como la permitividad compleja.

Asímismo, el grupo DIMAS colabora en este proyecto con el diseño de un equipo de procesado basado en tecnología microondas con atmósfera controlada para el tratamiento de minerales en polvo, siendo importante la integración del aplicador microondas con un sistema de extracción de gases (sulfuros) adaptado al proceso en continuo.

Los experimentos realizados han permitido verificar que la tecnología desarrollada en el proyecto permite realizar un calentamiento selectivo de los metales, con una mayor regulación y control del proceso a partir de un sistema muy eficiente energéticamente.

Esto significa que se ha desarrollado un proceso económicamente viable para la explotación de los grandes yacimientos complejos de minerales ricos en azufre que actualmente no tienen una tecnología para valorizar sus recursos de forma sostenible, lo que supone un hito tecnológico en la capacidad de explotación de recursos minerales complejos. El procedimiento y dispositivo desarrollados han sido protegidos mediante una patente, lo que supone un posicionamiento estratégico en el mercado de la minería internacional.

New paper published in Metals Journal

MetalsResearchers from DIMAS have recently published a new research paper at Metals Journal, entitled “High Temperature Dielectric Properties of Iron- and Zinc-Bearing Products during Carbothermic Reduction by Microwave Heating”.

In this work, the carbothermic reduction of iron- and zinc-bearing products is studied through in situ microwave heating, dielectric properties monitoring, and mass spectrometry up to high temperatures (1000 °C). The results are correlated to the information provided by conventional analysis techniques such as differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetry (TG).

This combination revealed interesting information about the interaction of these complex materials with microwave fields, and provided new evidence about the particular conditions of this microwave-driven reduction process.


The figure shows an example of the dielectric properties and thermal analyses (TG and DSC) of a mixtures of steel work residues (BOF dusts and sludge) rich in zinc and iron, heated up to 1000ºC. Correlation of the different techniques allows a detailed study of seven different process stages with an accurate determination of the reaction temperatures. The presented results suggest that some reactions take place at lower temperatures than those observed in the conventional process, probably promoted by molecular vibrations imposed by the microwave field.

This work also explores the influence of other parameters, such as the apparent density or the amount of carbonaceous material on the resulting dielectric properties, providing useful information for the development of a potential microwave industrial application in the metallurgy field.

This research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement number 820783, the DESTINY Project. You will find additional information about the DESTINY Project here.


DIMAS participates in a new european project: eCOCO2


The microwave division of ITACA participates in the new European project eCOCO2: Direct electrocatalytic conversion of CO2 into chemical energy carriers in a co-ionic membrane reactor (H2020-LC-SC3-2018-NZE-CC).

With 12 partners covering 8 European countries, the aim of eCOCO2 is to set up a technology for conversion of CO2, using renewable electricity and steam, to carbon-neutral synthetic liquid fuels for use as transport fuel, and in particular as jet fuel.

The technology is based on an innovative electrocatalytic co-ionic membrane reactor to conduct the conversion at high energy efficiency, very high CO2 conversion rate and moderate-to-low cost.

DIMAS activities within the project aim to develop microwave technology for sintering the co-ionic electrolites to improve their conductivity and microstructural properties for this application. In addition, recent advances in dielectric characterization equipment will help the understanding of the factors that affect the properties of the produced electrolites and the benefits that microwave processing offers respect to more conventional methods.

To know more about eCOCO2 project please visit the project website or have a look to the first project video, presenting our challenge, solution and the consortium.


DESTINY Project in AMPERE Newsletter


AMPERE (Association for Microwave Power in Europe for Research and Education) is a non-profit association devoted to the promotion of microwave and radio frequency heating techniques for research and industrial applications. It has a world-wide membership domain which comprises industrialists, academics and consultants.

In the 101 issue of AMPERE newsletter, the Microwave Division published a description of H2020 project DESTINY, as an example of funded project including research and technology transfer activities. This combination plays an important role in the association’s interests, since co-operation between industry and academic institutions is a fundamental objective of the association.

AMPERE Newsletter covers various aspects related to RF and microwave heating technologies. The Newsletter publishes short topical articles, as well as R&D profiles, conference reports, events and news items. It also highlights on promising new research developments to emanate from academy and industry. As an open-access publication, all articles as well as the entire Newsletter issues, are fully available online.


New paper about Dielectric Kit for Vials (DKV)

IEEE_Trans_On_Instrum_and_MeasA recent work about the Dielectric Kit for Vials (DKV) developed by Microwave Division has been published in the IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement Journal.

Dielectric materials have many applications ranging from microwave components and subsystems to industrial and manufacturing processes. Often in these applications, a successful design greatly depends on an accurate knowledge of the complex permittivity of the materials at these frequencies.

DKV is a simple, portable, affordable, and robust device intended to help both specialized metrologists and nonspecialized personnel to accurately measure the dielectric properties of materials used in a wide range of microwave applications around the 2.45GHz ISM frequency. The device is specifically appropriate for measuring liquids, semisolids, powders, and granular materials, but it can also be used for solids, if properly machined to fit into the container.


Dielectric Kit for Vials

The measurement process consists of placing a 1 mL Pyrex vial containing the sample inside a microwave cavity and measuring the resonant parameters of the cavity without the need of additional calibration measurements of reference materials, simplifying the measurement procedure and minimizing the measurement uncertainty.

The paper describes the DKV design and electromagnetic modelling, and provides dielectric properties of several materials in a wide range of dielectric constant and loss factor values, including uncertainty and a comparative study with other well-established instruments and methods. It provides an accuracy of 1.5% in the dielectric constant and 5% in the loss factor, which is particularly relevant since the losses of materials considered in the paper spread throughout four orders of magnitude (from 10−3 to 10).

You will find additional information about the technical specifications of DKV here, and several practical examples:

17th International Conference on Microwave and HF Heating: AMPERE 2019


DIMAS group is very pleased to announce that the 17th International Conference on Microwave and High Frequency Heating: AMPERE 2019 will be held on the 9th-12th September 2019 in the Universitat Politècnica de València. This conference is the largest event in Europe dedicated to scientific and industrial applications of microwave and radiofrequency power systems.

The AMPERE conference is a unique opportunity for the presentation and discussion of the most recent advances in the microwave technology and its applications. The conference provides many opportunities to researchers and engineers from academia and industry to exchange innovative ideas, networking, discuss collaborations and to meet with international experts in a wide variety of specialities of microwave and high frequency technologies at both scientific and industrial scale.

A broad range of microwave and radio frequency related topics, from materials and technologies to high power systems and applications will be addressed in all their aspects: theory, simulation, design, measurement and applications. You can find the first call for abstracts here.

Workshops, Short Courses and Special Sessions will be organized focusing on the main topics of the Conference. AMPERE 2019 also offers an outstanding exhibition opportunity, visit the conference webpage for further information.


DIMAS participates in a new european project: DESTINY


The microwave division of ITACA participates in the new European project DESTINY: Development of an Efficient Microwave System for Material Transformation in energy INtensive processes for an improved Yield (H2020-NMBP-SPIRE-2018).

With 14 partners covering 9 European countries, DESTINY pursues the introduction of the “first-of-a-kind” high temperature microwave processing system at industrial level, offering a variety of vital benefits to energy intensive sectors (ceramic pigments, steel and clay sectors): reduced energy consumption, lower lifetime operating costs and enhanced sustainability profile. DESTINY will give these sectors the chance to replace their standard heating technologies averagely cutting by 30% the required energy for production and decreasing the CO2 emissions.

DIMAS activities within the project aim to realize a functional, green and energy saving, scalable and replicable solution, employing microwave technology for continuous material processing in the considered energy intensive industries.

The DESTINY Kickoff meeting was held in Brussels (30th-31st of October 2018), being a great opportunity for the partners to get the key information needed to succeed and to demonstrate their enthusiasm and understanding of the new project.




The Microwave Division of ITACA has participated in the 38th annual symposium of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) [IGARSSS 2018] held in Valencia from July 22nd to 27th, 2018.

Dimas has published a paper in collaboration with ARAMCO SERVICES COMPANY in Houston (Texas-USA) that shows the permittivity of Shale at different frequencies from 1 GHz to 3.5 GHz with a Dimas equipement based on a resonant TM0np cavity and measurements performed at different harmonics.

The method has been validated with Rexolite values with an excellent match.

DIMAS at the EuMW Conference 2018


The Microwave Division of ITACA will participate as exhibitor in European Microwave Week 2018 Conference that will be held in Madrid, Spain from the 23rd to the 28th of September.

Bringing industry and academia together, EuMW 2018 is a SIX day event, including three cutting edge conferences and one technology exhibition. EuMW 2018 provides access to the very latest products, research and initiatives in the microwave sector. It also offers the opportunity for face to face interaction with those driving the future of microwave technology.

In our booth (No. 14), people will be able to see:

  • Innovative microwave equipment for processing and synthesis of high-tech materials with unique properties.
  • Advanced technology for testing and characterization of electromagnetic properties of materials from room to high temperatures (>1000ºC).
  • Equipment for in situ combination of different techniques (i.e. simultaneous dielectric and Raman spectroscopy) during microwave processing, allowing a fine-tuning control and a deeper understanding of microwave-matter interaction.
  • Our expertise in electromagnetic modeling and design of microwave equipment for emerging challenges and novel applications.

Some recent results about electromagnetic characterization obtained with our technology will be presented in the conference as well:

  • David Marques-Villarroya et al., “Extended Full-Wave Analysis of a Multimode Circular Cavity with Insertion Hole”

STEP project: Microwave Technology for Stone Eco-Efficient Production


The production chain in natural stone factories involves a drying stage in natural gas kilns, followed by the application of reinforcement resins to seal cracks or fractures, and finally a curing stage to harden the resins in natural gas furnaces.

These are the 2 eco-innovations achieved thanks to the STEP Project:

  • The industrial scale validation of a new microwave on-line processing system for rapid and continuous curing resin reinforcement of flat semi finished natural stone products, replacing conventional thermal systems based on natural gas and electric support elements.
  • Validation of water-based eco-resins based on nano-composites with zero emission of volatile organic compounds.

DIMAS participated in the project with the development of the new on-line open system for continuous marble drying and resin curing process with microwave energy.


Logo_EC_ECO_InnovationThe implementation of this development results in significant benefits for the natural stone sector in terms of efficiency, productivity and utilization of raw materials, as well as in health and safety aspects for employees of the production lines.