MEng Students


Production of Bio Fuels and high-value bio pharmaceutical products from lignocellulocis substrates


Investigate hydrodeoxygenation reaction kinetics, establish optimal operating conditions, evaluate scale up to continuous reactor system

PhD Students


Catalytic Conversion of Fructose, Glucose and Industrial Grade Sugar Syrups to 5-HydroxyMethylFurfural (HMF), A Platform for Fuels and Chemicals

Supervisors: Dr. Chunbao (Charles) Xu, Dr. Zhongchao (Chao) Tan

Defended: Aug. 17, 2016


Recover valuable organics from oil sands process water and tailings

Turn petroleum coke into valuable products (adsorbents)


Recovery of Organics from oil sands process water and tailings water with novel highly porous activated carbon-based adsorbents produced from petroleum coke

Hojatallah Seyedy Niasar


High value aromatic chemicals produced by

  • Catalytic fast pyrolysis(CFP) of lignocellulosic biomass
  • Hydrothermal liquefaction of coal and biomass
  • Co-liquefaction of lignin and coal with co-solvent


High-value aromatic chemicals production by thermochemical conversion of biomass


The importance of these project lies within the areas of sustainability, product development and the integration of research expertise.


FPInnovations IRC (industrial Research Chair)

Hooman Paysepar


Development of novel catalysts and reactors for conversion of glucose into 5-HMF: A platform for green chemicals

Milad Nahavandi

MESc Students


Effect of Baffle on the distribution of Liquid sprayed in a fluidized bed

In the oil refining industry where Fluid Cokers have a major role to play, efficient and uniform liquid feed distribution enhances the coker liquid yield and also its operability span by reducing agglomeration. A promising method would be to utilize baffles connected downwardly and radially inwards from the reactor wall to improve liquid distribution and avoid fouling.

This research aims to study the impact of a baffle and of the large bubbles formed at its tip, on the interaction of injected liquid and solid particles in a gas-solid fluidized bed. The proposed research includes three sections:

1. Effect of baffle on distribution of liquid into a fluidized bed at lab-scale:

 A Plexiglas unit has been employed to show how the baffle promotes agglomerate break-up using a conductance technique. It was observed that positioning the nozzle tip above the tip of the baffle yields good results while positioning the nozzle tip at the bed wall leads to the formation of an undesirable wet sand deposit on the baffle surface. The next step would be to determine the best position of nozzle, for which agglomerate break-up would be maximized while avoiding deposits. In addition to “conductance”, a new method called “Arabic Gum” will be employed to verify the results obtained from the conductance and provide more detailed information on the beneficial effect of the baffle. Experiments  will also be conducted in the turbulent fluidization regime to further verify the effect of baffle on agglomerate break-up. In addition a sparger shall be located at the same position as the baffle tip, without the baffle, to further study the effect of air bubbles released from the sparger on the jet cavity and its subsequent impact on agglomerate break-up. As a final research, the size of the baffle shall be reduced by 50% and assembled at the same angle as the previous baffle to compare its effect with the previous baffle.

2. Effect of baffle with flux-tube in small unit

A flux-tube also called a flow down-comer is a vertical tube located in the center of the baffle providing a flow passage through the baffle for descending solids. This may well avoid solid deposit formation on the baffle corners, even when the nozzle is positioned near the bed wall.Its impact will be investigated and also the optimum position of the nozzle for agglomerate break-up shall be determined for ta baffle equipped with a flux-tube.

Based on the best results from the first paper the most effective methods used in the previous study, will be employed with the aim of evaluating the effect of baffles with flux-tubes on enhancing the amount of agglomerate break-up in a small fluidized bed.

3. Effect of Baffle with or w/o flux-tubes with a commercial-scale spray nozzle

The results achieved from the lab-scale units will be scaled up to perform replicates of experiments in an industrial scale unit.This unit, which has already been used for other studies, will be adapted to perform experiments with baffles.

Sponsors: NSERC – Syncrude – ExxonMobil

Keywords: Fluid Coker, Gas-solid fluidized bed, Bubble formation, Baffle, Injection Nozzle, Agglomeration

Majid Jahanmiri


Project Title:

Canada has the largest bitumen reserves in the world which are extracted from oil sands. Fluid CokersTM are utilized in oil refineries to crack the bitumen to produce feedstock for petroleum products. Agglomerates formation in Fluid CokersTM cause operating problems such as stripper sheds fouling. Better understanding of how agglomerates move through a fluidized bed can lead to improved design of Fluid CokerTM by minimizing the risk of agglomerates reaching regions where they cause problems.

The aim of this research is to study the motion of agglomerates and to analyse the impact of important factors that may affect it. The proposed research includes the following sections,

1. Effects of Bed Hydrodynamics on Agglomerates Motion:
A large scale fluidized bed with a rectangular cross section and an expansion zone is being used for experiments. Agglomerates are generated by operating at a bed temperature of 130 °C and injecting for a few seconds, an aqueous solution of gum arabic, a binder, to which a dye has been added. The bed is kept fluidized for a set time, and, then, defluidized. The bed is then sectioned horizontally and vertically, and agglomerates are recovered from each section by screening. The agglomerates are sieved and their concentration of gum arabic is measured to provide the size distribution and initial liquid concentration of the agglomerates recovered from each section. Initial results show that large agglomerates tend to segregate at the bottom of the bed. Further experiments are being conducted to verify the segregation of agglomerates as well as to study the effects of bed hydrodynamics on agglomerates motion in the vertical and lateral directions. Experiments shall be conducted in both bubbling and turbulent fluidization regimes to check whether agglomerates motion is affected by the fluidization regime.

2. Impact of Multiple Liquid Injections on Agglomerates Motional Behaviour
In industrial reactors, the liquid is injected through multiple injection nozzles. Hence, it is vital to know if multiple or successive sprays affect the agglomerates motion. Therefore, future experiments shall be conducted with nozzles spraying simultaneously from opposite sides (crossover from one side to the other) and with nozzles spraying successively. The sequence of injection sprays can be changed to check whether it has any impact on agglomerates. Each spray will use liquid with a different dye so that the origin of each agglomerate can be easily identified.

3. Simulation of Agglomerates Motion Using RFIDs or Radioactive Particle Tracking
RFID tags can be installed in simulated agglomerates manufactured in the laboratory to track their motion through the fluidized bed. Agglomerates can also be set up to break along predefined planes when subjected to a shear of predetermined force (breakage can be detected by inserting an RFID tag in each agglomerate half): this will provide the location and time of the breakage. Multiplane agglomerates can be developed to take in consideration the shear forces acting in different directions. Radioactive particle tracking can also be used instead of RFID tags.

4. Estimation of Liquid Lost to Burner
For this purpose, experiments shall be conducted with a circular fluidized bed through which a top to bottom solids circulation can be imposed. These experiments will help estimate how much liquid is lost to burner at different gas velocities and liquid solid ratios.


Fluid CokerTM, Agglomeration, Fluidized Bed, Thermal Cracking, Fluidized Bed Reactor, Injection Spray Nozzle


I have 4 years of versatile experience in various aspects of engineering design and execution of oil and gas processing from wellhead surface facilities to central processing facilities. Strong expertise in major aspects of basic and detail engineering design from process selection and FEED study to freeze of detail engineering design. Proficiency extends to execution, pre-commissioning, commissioning and start-up activities as well
I have also been a part of visiting faculty at University of Karachi for the final year course "Process Design and Simulation".
I currently hold 6 certifications in various areas of process engineering

Muhammad Owais Iqbal Bhatti


Design and construction of a Jiggle Bed Reactor (JBR) for heavy hydrocarbon adsorption Study


  • Well agitated condition:
  • negligible external mass transfer
  • uniform temperature (isothermal)
  • Operating at high temperature (50-350°C)
  • Operating at maximum hydrocarbon partial pressure (1 atm)
  • Measurement as a function of time for kinetics study (1-60 s)



  • Electromagnet utilization for making a proper gas-solid contact
  • Ceramic crucible with an internal carbon steel cup for reducing amount of heat losses
  • Induction heating system for generating uniform temperature (avoiding hotspots) and fast heating rate
  • Mechanical shaking using a single rod air cylinder with reed switch controller


Hydrocarbon adsorption on activated carbon, fluid coke, flexicoke, activated coke

  • n-heptane, n-decane and mesitylene adsorption on various particles
  • Investigation of effect of temperature on adsorption isotherms (hydrocarbon boiling point plus margins)
  • Kinetic of adsorption in the residence time scale of coke in fluid coker horn chamber as the control volume of interest (0-10 seconds)


Coke activation and pretreatment

  • Simulated burner conditions for coke (SBC Coke)
  • JBR run at fluid coker’s temperature (650 )  for 1 hour under the nitrogen atmosphere
  • CO2 activation work at 650 , 750  , 850 
  • Tracking the effect of pretreatment at each temperature
  • Analyzing the liquid extracted in each run (soxhlet extraction)


Liquid-solid adsorption

  • UV spectophotometer usage for the measurement of various particles adsorption capacity
  • Methylene blue and phenol adsorption with fluid coke, flexi coke, activated coke, and activated carbon
  • Equilibrium adsorption capacity measurement
  • Fitting equilibrium results with different isotherms including Langmuir
  • Langmuir model is used to find the particles maximum monolayer adsorption uptake
  • Kinetic study in the time scales of 10 minutes to 4 hours
  • Kinetic model fit to compare the rate of liquid-solid adsorption with various particles
  • Investigation of effect of particles pretreatment on adsorption


Heavy hydrocarbon adsorption on coke at elevated temperature (Adsorption study for completion of cyclone fouling modeling project)

  • Fouling in cyclones is a major issue in fluid cokers which is leading to extreme reactor pressure drop and consequently leads to unit shut down for maintenance and recovery, and this is a tremendous loss of money
  • Goal of the project is to investigate the potential reasons causing cyclone fouling, establishing a model correlating with the rate of fouling
  • Investigating hydrocarbon adsorption on coke and correlating this to fouling model is the main objective the project


The most significant contributors to Fluid Coker cyclone fouling via changes in process conditions, for the purpose of increasing the reactor run length, will be determined based on the knowledge gathered from this research project. Maximizing Fluid Coker run lengths results in greater yields of saleable distillate products per unit of total energy required in the overall process, therefore improving the unit’s energy efficiency.


Syncrude Canada

Erfan Pazoki



Dr. Cedric. L. Briens & Dr. Franco Berruti

Characterizing the Mixing Behavior of Particles in a Jiggle Bed Reactor (JBR)
(Fundamental Studies on JBR and its Applications)

The JBR is a recent innovation for conducting fluidization in a small-scale lab setting. It has the potential to study catalysis and particle mixing before constructing larger scale pilot operations. However, little is known for the mixing behavior of the substances during operations and applications of the JBR. My study will hopefully lay some good foundations for future researchers to understand the operating principles of the JBR, thus, optimizing future JBR experiments and opening new fields of its applications.

Contact Information:
LinkedIn Profile:

2010-2015 Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2013-2014 Undergraduate Research Assistant, CHBE, UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2015-2016 Geochemistry Lab Technician, SGS Inc., Burnaby, BC, Canada

Tian Dong (Timothy) Cai

Postdoctoral Fellows


1. Project coordinator for the BioFuelNet (BFN) Central Pyrolysis Platform. 2. Support for graduate students working under BFN, projects are as follows: I. Mixing and operability characteristics of mechanically fluidized reactors (MFR) for the pyrolysis of biomass. II. Catalytic Upgrading of Pyrolysis Vapours (In- and Ex-situ) and Bio-oil’s. Objectives: 1. To coordinate BFN activities, directed by the platform leader, among principle investigators throughout Canada. Our long term goals are to: I. Identify, develop and demonstrate the best possible technologies for the integration of renewable resources into the conventional petroleum and petrochemical industries. II. Produce sustainable infrastructure-compatible biofuels and biochemicals in the context of Southwestern Ontario (densely populated area rich of agricultural, forestry and municipal resources). 2. To investigate the impact of gas and vapour evolution during pyrolysis on power consumption, and to assess mixing speed on the rate of pyrolysis and on the product distribution of the bio-oil. 3. To explore in-situ and ex-situ pyrolysis vapour upgrading using the MFR. Importance: The importance of these projects lies within the areas of sustainability, product development and the integration of research expertise. Sponsors: BioFuelNet - BioFuelNet Canada is a Network of Centres of Excellence that brings together the Canadian biofuels research community. The objective of BioFuelNet is to aggressively address the challenges impeding the growth of an advanced biofuels industry, which is a key component of the energy mix of the future. Advanced biofuels are produced from non-food materials, such as algae, agricultural waste, forestry by-products and municipal waste. Publications: -Greenhalf, C.E., Nowakowski, A.B., Titiloye, J.O., Bridgwater, A.V., Yates, N. Riche, A., Shield, I., Thermochemical characterisation of straws and high yielding perennial grasses. Industrial Crops and Products. 2012, 36, 449-459. -Greenhalf, C.E., Nowakowski, D.J., Harms, A.B., Titiloye, J.O., & Bridgwater, A.V. Sequential pyrolysis of willow SRC at low and high heating rates – implications for selective pyrolysis. Fuel. 2012, 93, 692-702. -Greenhalf, C.E., Nowakowski, A.B., Bridgwater, A.V., Yates, N. Riche, A., Shield, I., The influence of harvest and storage on the properties of and fast pyrolysis products from Miscanthus x giganteus. Biomass & Bioenergy. 2013, 56, 247-259. -Greenhalf, C.E., Nowakowski, D.J., Harms, A.B., Titiloye, J.O., & Bridgwater, A.V., A comparative study of straw, perennial grasses and hardwoods in terms of fast pyrolysis products. Fuel. 2013, 108, 216-230.


  • To improve bio-oil yield and quality
  • To explore opportunities for value added bio-fuel and chemicals


Fast pyrolysis, gasification and bio-oil upgrading


NSERC Biomaterials and Chemicals Strategic Research Network – Lignoworks

Dongbing Li


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
FPInnovations IRC (Industrial Research Chair)


Project Title
Hydrolytic depolymerization of Kraft Lignin/Black Liquor for the bio-polyols production

Project Objectives
Production of polyols from hydrolytic depolymerization of Kraft lignin/Black liquor using water alone as a solvent.
Replacement of petroleum based polyols by Kraft lignin/Kraft black liquor based polyols in the production of rigid polyurethane foam.

Supervisor & Co-Supervisor:      Dr. Chunbao (Charles) Xu & Dr. John Schmidt (FPInnovations)

Mahmood, N.,Yuan, Z., Schmidt, J., Xu, C., 2013. Production of polyols via direct hydrolysis of kraft lignin: Effect of process parameters. Bioresource Technology 139, 13-20.
Mahmood, N.,Yuan, Z., Schmidt, J., Xu, C., 2013. Production of polyols via direct hydrolysis of kraft lignin: Optimization of process parameters. The Journal of Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes (J-FOR). (Submitted)
Ramzan, N., Naveed, S., Latif, N., & Saleemi, A. R., 2010. Characterization of Kitchen Waste as a feedstock for biogas generation by thermophilic anaerobic digestion. Proceedings of International Conference on Energy Systems Engineering, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) (NJES10030105), October 25-27 (Islamabad-Pakistan)
Latif, N.,Ramzan, N., & Saleemi, A.R., 2008. Potentialof biogas generation from kitchen waste.
Proceeding of International Conference on Development and Investments in Clean Environment & Expo of Environmental Friendly Technologies, Products & Services (Environment Asia 2008), October 14–15 (Lahore–Pakistan).


Mahmood, N.,Yuan, Z., Xu, C., & Schmidt, J., “Production of bio-phenols/polyols via direct hydrolysis of Kraft lignin: Effect of process parameters and their optimization”. Presented at 62nd CSChE Conference October 14-17, 2012, Vancouver, British Columbia-Canada. (Oral presentation)
Mahmood, N.,Yuan, Z., Schmidt, J., & Xu, Chunbao (Charles), “Direct hydrolysis of Kraft lignin for bio-phenols/polyols production: Effect of process parameters and their optimization” CBE-Sarnia Research Bridges-Sarnia Research Park, Sarnia-Canada (2012). (Poster presentation)
Latif, N.,Ramzan, N., & Saleemi, A.R., “Potential of Biogas generation from Kitchen Waste”,  International Conference on Development and Investments in Clean Environment & Expo of Environmental Friendly Technologies, Products & Services (Environment Asia 2008), October 14–15, 2008 (Lahore–Pakistan). (Oral presentation)


Date of Birth:                             December 08, 1983
Marital Status:                           Married
Children:                                    One

May 2011 – April 2015:

January 2013 – August 2013:



February 2007 – April 2011:

RA/GTA at Western University, London, ON-Canada.

8 months internship under Mitacs Accelerator program in the County of Lambton Community Development Corp. /CENNATEK- Sarnia Research Park, Sarnia-Canada.

Lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore–Pakistan (Bachelors & Masters)

June – July 2006:


4 weeks internship in PACKAGES Limited, Lahore–Pakistan

Nubla Mahmood


Fluid Coking is a process used to upgrade heavy oils (Bitumen) through thermal cracking.  Oil is injected in a downward-flowing fluid bed of hot coke particles, where it heats up and cracks into smaller vapor molecules.  The down-flowing coke particles are then conveyed to a fluid bed burner where they are reheated. 

The objective of the chair is to improve Fluid Cokers through a better understanding of the Fluid Coking process and the development of new technologies. The practical objectives are to increase the operability and liquid yields of Fluid CokersTM in order to reduce the environmental footprint of heavy oil upgrading.


  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Syncrude
  • ExxonMobil


“Postdoctoral Fellow for the NSERC/Syncrude/ExxonMobil chair in Fluid Coking Technologies”

Supervisors:  Dr. Cedric Briens & Dr. Franco Berruti.


  • Design and construction of a pilot scale Mechanically Fluidized Reactor that is used in the thermal cracking of vacuum tower bottoms (VTB).
  • Design and construction of a pilot scale Mechanically Fluidized Reactor that is used in the pyrolysis of biomass.
  • Reengineering of induction heating systems for different reactors with ESAFE approval.
  • Help graduate students in their DAQ requirements: NI-USB-DAQ and MCCDAQ-USB  (for voltage, conductance, pressure transducers, scintillation detectors and thermocouple signals, using LabWindows CVI platform), PLC (EATON, IMO) for motors and pistons control, GS2 for motor drives, and Arduino microcontrollers for vision, thermocouples, pressure transducers, sonars and Geiger counters.
  • Evaluation of “industrial size” bitumen injection nozzles and improvements to the 8 metric tons of sand pie-shape fluidize test bed.


  • “Agglomerate Behavior in a Recirculating Fluidized Bed with Sheds: Effect of Sheds.”. Advanced Powder Technology (2018).
  • “Agglomerate Behavior in a Recirculating Fluidized Bed with Sheds: Effect of Bed Properties.”. Powder Technology (2018).
  • “Agglomerate Behavior in a Recirculating Fluidized Bed with Sheds: Effect of Ring Baffles”. Particuology (2018).
  •  “Agglomerate Behavior in a Recirculating Fluidized Bed with Sheds: Effect of Agglomerate and Bed Properties”. Powder Technology (2015).
  • “Application of radioactive particle tracking to indicate shed fouling in the stripper section of a fluid coker”. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering (2013).
  •  “An effect of tar model compound toluene treatment with high-temperature flames”. Fuel (2012).

Conferences Papers

  • “Agglomerate Behaviour in a Recirculating Fluidized Bed with Sheds: Effect of Agglomerate Properties”.  Fluidization XIV (2013).
  • “High Order Modeling of Overdamped Continuous Processes”. ISA (2001).


  • “Impact of Pyrolysis heating characteristics on leachability of biochar minerals”. TC Biomass (2017)
  • “Measurement of penetration and cycle time of jets from an industrial fluid coking spray nozzle ”. Fluidization XV (2015).
  • “Jet-Bed Interactions in Fluid CokersTM: A Review of Measurement Methods, Nozzles, Agglomerates Characteristics, Bed Parameters and Models”. Fluidization XIV (2013).
  • “Application of radioactive particle tracking to indicate shed fouling in the stripper section of a fluid coker”. 61st Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (2011).
  • “Application of Radioactive Particle Tracking to the Fluidization of Fluid Coke”. 60th CSChE Conference (2010)


  • “Hydrodynamics in Recirculating Fluidized Bed Mimicking the Stripper Section of the Fluid Coker”. (2013)
  • “Un Nuevo Método de Identificación de Procesos Continuos no Oscilatorios de Alto Orden”. (2001)


Francisco J. Sanchez Careaga


Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow at Western Maple Bio Resources Inc. (WMB)

Dr. Sadra Souzanchi received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from University of Western Ontario (Western University), Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR) under supervision of Dr. Charles Xu in 2016. He completed his M.Sc. and B.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering at Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic) in 2008 and Iran University of Science and Technology in 2005, respectively. Prior to beginning of his Ph.D. studies, Sadra worked as a Chemical Process Engineer in various fields and industries including oil /gas, pharmaceutical/biotechnology and water/wastewater for more than 6 years and demonstrated strong scientific/theoretical and technical/practical knowledge and hands-on experience and expertise in designing, operating and managing of various chemical processes and projects. During his Ph.D. studies, Sadra developed a novel process and reactor for cost-effective production of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (5-HMF), which is a versatile intermediate or platform chemical and precursor for liquid bio-fuels and high-value biomass-based chemicals and polymeric materials, at a high yield from simple sugars and sugar syrups derived from starch or cellulosic biomass in a bi-phasic continuous-flow reactor using inexpensive heterogeneous catalysts. A PCT patent was filed based on his Ph.D. research.

Sadra Souzanchi


Research Interests

  • Valorization of biogenic wastes for production of renewable fuels and chemicals through advanced pyrolysis techniques
  • Utilization of biochar for applications in carbon sequestration, materials engineering and agriculture.


  • Ph.D. (York University, Canada) | 2014
  • M.Sc. (VIT University, India) | 2009
  • B.Sc. (Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, India) | 2007


Dr. Sonil Nanda is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources (ICFAR) at Western University in Ontario, Canada. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Biology from York University, Canada in 2014. His Ph.D. study was multidisciplinary in nature with applied research in Chemical Engineering and Industrial Biotechnology pursued at University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Sonil completed his M.Sc. in Applied Microbiology from VIT University, India (2009) and B.Sc. in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, India (2007).

With special attention to various biogenic waste characterization and conversion, Sonil’s research expertise is in biomass pyrolysis, supercritical water gasification and microbial fermentation technology. He has published extensively in the areas of physicochemical characterization of lignocellulosic biomass, biochar and bio-oil, as well as gasification process optimization, hydrothermal flames, carbon sequestration, and environmental waste remediation. Sonil’s works have been focusing on producing next-generation biofuels such as bio-oil, bioethanol, biobutanol and synthesis gas by transforming the wastes resources through thermochemical and biochemical routes.

Sonil is a member of many scientific associations, a few of which include Chemical Institute of Canada, Combustion Institute in USA, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, Indian Science Congress Association, and Association of Microbiologist of India. He continually participates in speaking at technical and public forums for creating awareness about green technologies, biofuels and waste management.

Publications (selected)

  1. Nanda S., Gong M., Hunter H.N., Dalai A.K., Gökalp I., Kozinski J.A. (2017). An assessment of pinecone gasification in subcritical, near-critical and supercritical water. Fuel Processing Technology168, 84-96.
  2. Nanda S., Naik S.N., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2017). A review on Indian biomass supply chain and biofuel activities. Journal of Sustainable Planet 8, 17-26.
  3. Nanda S., Rana R., Zheng Y., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2017). Insights on pathways for hydrogen generation from ethanol. Sustainable Energy and Fuels 1, 1232-1245.
  4. Nanda S., Golemi-Kotra D., McDermott J.C., Dalai A.K., Gökalp I., Kozinski J.A. (2017). Fermentative production of butanol: Perspectives on synthetic biology. New Biotechnology 37, 210-221.
  5. Reddy S.N., Nanda S., Hegde U.G., Hicks M.C., Kozinski J.A. (2017). Ignition of n-propanol–air hydrothermal flames during supercritical water oxidation. Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 36, 2503-2511.
  6. Nanda S., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2016). Supercritical water gasification of timothy grass as an energy crop in the presence of alkali carbonate and hydroxide catalysts. Biomass and Bioenergy 95, 378-387.
  7. Nanda S., Dalai A.K., Gökalp I., Kozinski J.A. (2016). Valorization of horse manure through catalytic supercritical water gasification. Waste Management 52, 147-158.
  8. Nanda S., Reddy S.N., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2016). Subcritical and supercritical water gasification of lignocellulosic biomass impregnated with nickel nanocatalyst for hydrogen production. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 41, 4907-4921.
  9. Nanda S., Isen J., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2016). Gasification of fruit wastes and agro-food residues in supercritical water. Energy Conversion and Management 110, 296-306.
  10. Nanda S., Dalai A.K., Berruti F., Kozinski J.A. (2016). Biochar as an exceptional bioresource for energy, agronomy, carbon sequestration, activated carbon and specialty materials. Waste and Biomass Valorization 7, 201-235. (Springer Best Paper for 2017 – Award Winning and Most Popular Paper)
  11. Nanda S., Reddy S.N., Hunter H.N., Butler I.S., Kozinski J.A. (2015). Supercritical water gasification of lactose as a model compound for valorization of dairy industry effluents. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 54, 9296-9306.
  12. Nanda S., Reddy S.N., Hunter H.N., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2015). Supercritical water gasification of fructose as a model compound for waste fruits and vegetables. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids 104, 112-121.
  13. Nanda S., Azargohar R., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2015). An assessment on the sustainability of lignocellulosic biomass for biorefining. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 50, 925-941.
  14. Reddy S.N., Nanda S., Hegde U.G., Hicks M.C., Kozinski J.A. (2015). Ignition of hydrothermal flames. RSC Advances 5, 36404-36422.
  15. Nanda S., Mohammad J., Reddy S.N., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2014). Pathways of lignocellulosic biomass conversion to renewable fuels. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery 4, 157-191.
  16. Nanda S., Azargohar R., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2014). Characteristic studies on the pyrolysis products from hydrolyzed Canadian lignocellulosic feedstocks. Bioenergy Research 7, 174-191.
  17. Reddy S.N., Nanda S., Dalai A.K., Kozinski J.A. (2014). Supercritical water gasification of biomass for hydrogen production. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 39, 6912-6926.
  18. Azargohar R., Nanda S., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K., Sutarto R. (2014). Effects of temperature on the physicochemical characteristics of fast pyrolysis bio-chars derived from Canadian waste biomass. Fuel125, 90-100.
  19. Mohanty P., Nanda S., Pant K.K., Naik S., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2013). Evaluation of the physiochemical development of biochars obtained from pyrolysis of wheat straw, timothy grass and pinewood: Effects of heating rate. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 104, 485-493.
  20. Nanda S., Mohanty P., Pant K.K., Naik S., Kozinski J.A., Dalai A.K. (2013). Characterization of North American lignocellulosic biomass and biochars in terms of their candidacy for alternate renewable fuels. Bioenergy Research 6, 663-677.
Sonil Nanda

Visiting Students


To improve the catalyst performance and use model compounds to establish catalytic formulations


Studies on Bio-oil hydrocleoxygenation

Jiawei Li


  • Conduct a technical-economic analysis to estimate the overall costs bio-based PF and PU produced from the forest biorefinery.
  • Develop a SC network design for a forest biorefinery to produce PU and PF.
  • Incorporate uncertainties regarding supply, demand and price variations by developing a stochastic SC design.


Techno-economic Analysis and Supply Chain Design for a Forest Biorefinery to Produce Value-added Bio-based Products from Lignin

Supervisor & Co-Supervisor 

Dr. Chunbao (Charles) Xu and Dr. Reino Pulkki


Lignin is available in kraft pulp mills in Canada because of the bottleneck of the recovery boilers.

Lignin-based products can diversify the pulp industry portfolio increasing revenue margins.

Lignin is a green substitute for petroleum-based chemicals and materials. Products, such as polyurethane foams and phenol formaldehyde, can be manufactured with lignin-based polyols and phenols representing a great market opportunity for lignin.


CNPq – Science without Borders



Luana Dessbesell is a Ph.D. candidate at Lakehead University, Canada. She is currently pursuing her studies on biorefinery economic analysis and supply chain at the Institute for Chemicals and Fuels from Alternative Resources at University of Western Ontario, Canada. She has completed an undergrad and a master degree in forest engineering at Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil. She has also worked in a forest consulting company as a Forest Engineer for 2 years. Her disciplines of interest are supply chain, forest operations, forest economics, decision and support tools, biorefining and forest biomass and residues.


DESSBESELL, L.; YUAN, Z.; LEITCH, M.; PULKKI, R; XU, C. Bio-based polymers production in a kraft lignin biorefinery: techno-economic assessment. Biofuels Bioproducts & Biorefining-Biofpr, v. 12, 2017.

DESSBESELL, L.; FARIAS, J. A.; ROECH, F. Complementing firewood with alternative energy sources in Rio Pardo Watershed, Brazil. CIENCIA RURAL, v. 47, p. 1, 2017.

DESSBESELL, L.; MAHMOOD, N.; LEITCH, M.; Pulkki, R; Xu, C. Forest biomass supply chain optimization for a biorefinery aiming to produce high-value bio-based materials and chemicals from lignin and forestry residues: A review of literature. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 2016.

DESSBESELL, L.; FARIAS, J. A.; WELTER, C. A.; PEREIRA, R. S.; VOGT, E. Classificação do uso e cobertura da terra a partir de imagens RapidEye para o município de Segredo, RS, Brasil. Geografia (Rio Claro. Impresso), v. 4, p. 291-304, 2015.

SIDDIQUI, H.; MAHMOOD, N.; YUAN, Z.; CRAPULLI, F.; DESSBESELL, L.; RIZKALLA, A.; RAY, A.; XU, C. Sustainable Bio-Based Phenol-Formaldehyde Resoles Using Hydrolytically Depolymerized Kraft Lignin. Molecules, v. 22, p. 1850, 2017.

SCHUH, M. S.; FAVARIN, J. A. S.; DESSBESELL, L.; SILVA, E. A.; GOERGEN L.C.G; PEREIRA, R. S. Temporal analysis of vegetative vigor through spectroradiometry. Revista Brasileira de Geografia Física, v. 09, p. 06, 2016.

SILVA, E. A.; MARANGON, G. P.; DESSBESELL, L.; MORAIS, W.; LIPPERT, D. B.; PEREIRA, R. S. Spectral reflectance characterization in Eucalyptus grandis. Floresta (online) (Curitiba), v. 42, p. 285, 2012.

+ 26 conference papers, abstracts and posters.

Luana Dessbesell