Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


The Department is responsible for the Chemical Engineering and Engineering in Biotechnology programs, both with participation from a body of professors having doctorate level training and outstanding academic productivity in their respective areas of expertise. The Department also provides postgraduate education at master and doctorate levels.

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DIQBT, initials in Spanish) began in the laboratories of General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry and Saltpeter processing, all dependent on the School of Engineering. In 1960, the Center for Chemistry was formed on the basis of the laboratories mentioned. From its 1965 inception, the Department of Chemistry consisted of two areas: Basic Chemistry and Operations and Unit Processes. In 1973, the latter formed an independent department named Chemical Technology. In 1981, both merged, however after a short stint, agreed to operate separately, becoming two units with clearly defined areas and objectives: the Department of Basic Chemistry and the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Staff in charge
Department chair Dr. Paulo Araya
Vice chair  Dr. Maria Elena Lienqueo
Undergraduate coordinator  Dr. Francisco Gracia
Postgraduate coordinator Dr. Juan Asenjo


The Department is responsible for the following training programs:

  • Chemical Engineering. A technological-scientific program related to industrial processes. It is a specialty of engineering intimately linked to technological innovation, by transformation and enrichment of resources provided by nature.
  • Engineering in Biotechnology: Associated with the design, evaluation, planning, operation and research of processes and plants that involve the optimal utilization of matter and energy of biological origin (enzymes, yeast, microalgae, bacteria, animal cells, etc.).
  • Master of Engineering Science with emphasis in Chemistry: The program is designed for advanced training in the area of engineering processes, with the choice of a specialization in biochemical engineering and biotechnology, processes of polymerization and catalysis, hydro-electrometallurical processes, and decontamination processes. The program enables graduates to work in academia or in professional research and development activities.
  • PhD of Science in Engineering with emphasis in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology: Trains professionals and academics of the highest ranking, able to independently conduct original research. The students that enter the program may specialize in any of the following thematic areas: Chemical Engineering Sciences; Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology; Processes of Polymerization and Catalysis; Hydrometallurgical Processes; Electrochemical Processes and Corrosion; Decontamination Processes.


The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology emphasizes research, the exploitation and development of natural resources in areas such as coal, biomasses, metals, inorganic salts, the biotechnology industry and polymers.
The strengthening and expansion of teaching and research groups allows for preparatory groundwork and future implementation of programs in modern fields of synthesis of advanced materials, decontamination and environmental health, biological treatment of water and waste, modern technological development for agricultural industry, petrochemicals, fisheries, food, etc.

Areas of Research

  • Metallurgical Processes: The research covers: bacterial leaching of copper and gold ore, hydrometallurgical process modeling, ion speciation and synthesis of water-mineral processes, electrocrystallization and electro-dissolution of metals, formation of electrical ceramic films by electro-chemical methods and corrosion of metals
  • Biochemical and Biotechnological Processes: The group of biochemical and biotechnological processes are divided into two groups: Decontamination Process Engineering and Center of Academic Excellence in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CIBYB, in Spanish). Both work in specific areas of biochemical and biotechnological processes.
  • Gasification and Catalysis: Research areas include the study of nitric oxide catalysts, of monoxides, hydrocarbons and the use of activated carbon in purification of gases and liquids.
  • Polymers and Plastics: Areas of study include catalysts for polymerization, study of variables of polymerization processes and the acquiring of new polymers.
Secretary Erika Jorquera A.
Phone +562 29784284
Address Av. Beauchef 861, Santiago, Chile


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