Fairforce Lists

Top Biofuel Researchers in the UK

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Top Biofuel Researchers in the UK

This list consists of the top doctorate and professors researchers in the field of bioenergy, biofuel studies and production processes.

The works and researches provided by these top academics have been and are being recognised as leading bioenergy technology developments in the United Kingdom.

Their knowledge and insight are crucially providing for the world energy transition and environmental protection. 

Prof Martin Tangney

Edinburgh Napier University; Celtic Renewables Ltd

Professor Martin Tangney is an expert in the field of microbial biofuel production.

In 2007, he established the Biofuel Research Centre at the Edinburgh Napier University.

Professor Tangney is also active in the international trade body regarding the renewable energy sector, providing international governments consultation.

A biotechnology company named Celtic Renewables Ltd was founded in 2011 and directed by Prof Martin Tangney. 

Dr Julie Hawkins

Dr Julie Hawkins has a PhD degree in microbiology and her career has been dedicated to the research and application of biofuel.

She was the Chief Science Officer at Biofuel Research Centre in Edinburgh and a part of Scottish Biofuel Programme which provides information and support for Scottish SMEs about sustainable bioenergy production.

Dr Julie Hawkins is currently the Process Microbiology Specialist at Celtic Renewables Ltd founded by Prof Martin Tangney. 

Prof Patricia Thornley

Professor Patricia Thornley is the Editor-in-Chief of the Biomass and Bioenergy journal and is currently the Director of the European Bioenergy Research Institute situated in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Prof Thornley also leads the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s SUPERGEN Bioenergy hub which develops sustainable bioenergy systems in the UK.

Her works focus on assessing environmental, economic and social impacts of bioenergy systems. 

Dr Raphael Slade

Dr Raphael Slade holds a PhD in Bioenergy and he’s currently a senior researcher at the Imperial College London.

His works cover the energy systems analysis as well as energy policy for supporting technology innovations.

Dr Slade’s recent works involved the study of biomass-deprived transport fuel potentials.

He is the head of science at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Working Group III Technical Support Unit.

Dr John Bothwell

Dr John Bothwell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biosciences at Durham University.

His research focuses on the evolution and systematics of seaweed, as well as their bioenergy potential. 

Prof. Chris Greenwell

Professor Chris Greenwell is the Co-Director of Science at the Institute of Advanced Study of Durham University.

He has experience in the development of microalgae biofuel processes.

With the achieved research done at Durham University, he and his team has provided consultancy for the UK government, as well as international trade and investment industry. 

Prof Andrew Smith

Professor Andrew Smith specializes in Plant Science at Oxford University.

His research focus on stress-tolerant crop plants, novel biomass sources, and energy conversion efficiency.

His recent works involve studies of succulent plants’ life cycle assessment in marginal environments.

Prof Smith is the lead researcher of the Oxford Martin Programme on Dryland Bioenergy

Dr. Mike Mason

Dr. Mike Mason is the co-founder of Climate Care, one of the first carbon trading businesses in the world.

His research includes the study of improving efficiency of anaerobic digestion plant, making bioenergy commercially affordable and a positive force in food production (as some biofuel may pose as a competitor for food production).

Dr Mason is also the director of Tropical Power, a renewable energy company that operates in Africa.

He also has a personal blog where he shares his knowledge on climate change and energy issues. 

Professor Alison Smith

Professor Alison Smith is the professor of Plant Biochemistry and the head of the Department of Plant Science at Cambridge University.

Prof Smith research areas are studies of plants, algae and bacteria metabolism.

Her research works are being used to explore biotechnological uses of algae, such as for biodiesel production, carbon capture and storage, algae fuel and algaculture. 

Prof Patricia Harvey

Professor Patricia Harvey is the head of the Bioenergy Research institute at Greenwich University.

She had conducted research on the biochemistry of lignin breakdown that leads to a breakthrough for the research programmes centred on renewable bioenergy at the University of Greenwich.

Her current research includes the utilization of algal and non-food plant systems for the capture of CO2 and biorefinery production of green chemicals and biofuels.

Prof Harvey is also a Board member of the European Algal Biomass Association and served on European Co-operation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research management committees.

Professor Iain Donnison 

Professor Iain Donnison is the Head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University. His researches focus on crop physiology, genetics and environmental impact of temperate and tropical grasses. Working closely with the bioeconomic industry, Prof Donnison is achieving wider impacts by turning scientific research into reality. He also led the BEACON Biorefining Centre to win the European Commission’s RegioStars Award for Sustainable Growth in 2014.

Prof Tony Bridgwater

Professor Tony Bridgwater is the professor of Chemical Engineering at Aston University. He specialised in bioenergy, biofuels and biorefineries. Throughout the years, his work has been dedicated to the development of fast biomass and fuel pyrolysis. Professor Bridgwater has participated in winning more than a £25 million research grant which plays an important role in establishing the European Bioenergy Research Institute at Birmingham, UK. He was also the Technical Director of SUPERGEN Bioenergy programmes for 8 years. 

Prof Jason Hallett

Professor Jason Hallett is currently the Director of Imperial Network of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology and team leader for the Biorenewables and Biofuels researches in the Manufacturing Futures Lab. His research work investigates the behavior of ionic liquids and its usage in producing lignocellulosic (plant dry matter biomass) biofuels, sustainable chemical feedstocks, vaccine manufacturing and waste recycling. Prof Hallett also founded spin-out company name Lixea that focusing on ionic liquid biorefinery research. The first product created by Lixea is the BioFlex, which is a process of creating petrochemical using waste wood, agriculture bio-products, and sustainably grown biomass.

Prof Simon J McQueen Mason

Professor Simon MacQueen Mason is the Director and Chair of Materials Biology Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York.  His researches on plant cell wall biology are being applied to advance in developing second-generation liquid biofuel. Prof Mason also provides a study of the production of biofuel using municipal solid waste. Watch and listen to his inspiring story of how he struggled and followed his passion to become a biologist who passionate about the environment (The interview is produced by Royal Society).

Dr Sharon Velasquez Orta

Dr Sharon Velasques Orta is a lecturer in Chemical engineering at Newcastle University. She has a PhD in Environmental Sciences where she spent years studying the ability of biomass in energy production, bacterial monitoring, and wastewater treatment. Dr Orta has experience working with different companies before her academic years such as Nestle, J&J, P&G, Kimberly Clarck and Jumex. Her researches are partnered with different universities and businesses to enable its application in the field. She is leading numerous projects at Newcastle University’s BioRE (Environmental bio-electrochemistry and bio-Renewable Energy) group.

Prof Jenny Jones

Professor Jenny Jones was the only female researcher in the UK to be selected in the 2016 Highly Cited Researcher list of the Thomson Reuters. Author and co-author of approximately 250 journal and conference papers, Prof Jones is the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy, a past EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) Advanced Research Fellow, and a Professor in Sustainable Energy at the University of Leeds. She is also an active member of SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub. Her research interests include sustainable energy from biomass, torrefaction of biomass and other pre-treatment technologies, and sustainable energy with low carbon and low pollutant emissions.

Dr Vesna Najdanovic

Dr. Vesna Najdanovic is a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Aston University. Her researches revolve around sustainable valorisation of biomass-derived products and carbon dioxide, which includes the study of biomass utilization as a source of biofuels and biodiesel and enhancing biomass-derived feedstock conversion using nuclear energy. Before that, Dr. Najdanovic was a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University, where, along with her colleagues, developed a faster single-step process to turn spent coffee grounds into biodiesel.

Dr Raffaella Villa

Dr. Raffaella Villa is a Reader in Environmental Engineering at De Montfort University. She has experience in microbial bioengineering for 20 years. Her works and researches has been contributing to better delivery of the next generation biotechnological processes that combine protection and production for a more circular bioeconomy. Dr. Villa is also the Editor in Chief of Environmental Technology Reviews journal.

Dr Jem Woods

Dr Jem Woods is a bioenergy lecturer at Imperial College London and co-director of Centre for Energy Policy and Technology. His research studies the interconnection of environmental impact, techno-economic and sustainability assessment frameworks, and applying that in policy making and industrial standards. He is also an active member of the Bioeconomy Platform of Climate-KIC, which is dedicated to the development of advanced biorenewables.

Prof Ian Thompson

Professor Ian Thompson is the Head of Environmental Biotechnology at the Natural Environment Research Council (a Government Institute- NERC) Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. He specialised in microbial ecology in his PhD and his current researches focus on the development of sustainable methods for generating clean energy from waste, clean-up of contaminated wastewaters/soils and recovery of resources from end-of-pipe production processes.

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