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DR. HANWU LEI Biofuels, Bioproducts & Thermochemical Catalysis Lab

Research Interests

Novel process and technology development for Jet fuels, phenols, aromatics, cycloalkanes, hydrocarbons, hydrogen, syngas, biochar, activated carbon, carbon catalysts, nanocellulose, nanocarbon, nanocarbon catalysts, zeolite catalysts, fertilizer, and CO2 capture; Biomass thermochemical conversions (catalysis, torrefaction, pyrolysis, microwave pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, organosolv liquefaction); Fundamental studies and development of carbon based catalysts and zeolite based catalysts in catalytic processes; Process development and energy recapture and recycling of polymer and plastic wastes and co-feeding of lignocellulosic biomass in catalytic pyrolysis and catalysis for aromatics, cycloalkanes, and jet fuels; Biomass hydrothermal pretreatment, biomass clean fractionation (hemicelluloses, cellulose, and lignin), protein separation, and oil extraction; Fundamental studies and development of biomass conversion pathways, kinetics, mechanism, and techno-economic analysis; Bioprocess engineering; Renewable energy technologies

Article at the journal Science: L Dai, R Ruan, S You, H Lei. 2022. Paths to sustainable plastic waste recycling. Science, 377(6609), p934. Doi:

New positive synergy was developed in Dr. Lei’s Group for aromatics from catalytic microwave co-pyrolysis of biomass and waste plastics, resulting in jet fuels containing 31% of paraffins, 53% of cycloalkanes, and 15% aromatic hydrocarbons, which were consistent with those fuel components in JP-5 and commercial Jet A


New Reaction Pathways developed in Dr. Lei’s Group for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into aromatics and jet fuel range cycloalkanes


New Process developed in Dr. Lei’s Group to produce cycloalkanes and jet fuels features H2 saving and environmental-friendly mild conditions (150-200 °C, ~500 psi H2 pressure)


New Process developed in Dr. Lei’s Group to produce aromatics features high selectivity of 95% aromatic hydrocarbons from various biomasses