- Aug 2016-present. Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen.
- Aug 2012-July 2016. Lecturer, School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen.
- 2007-2012. Process Engineer and then Principal Process Engineer at Syngenta, Jealotts Hill Research Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire, UK.
- 2004-2007. Lecturer ("Ricercatore"), Faculty of Mathematical, Physical, Biological Sciences, Dept of Chemistry, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
- 2001-2003. Research assistant, Dept of Chemistry, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
- 2001. PhD ("Dottorato di Ricerca") in Industrial Chemical Processes, co-hosted by the Dept of Chemistry and the Dept of Chemical Engineering, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
- 1997. Master degree ("Laurea") in Chemical Engineering at Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
My research interests are focused on the application of chemical engineering principles to the development of improved, more sustainable and environmentally-friendly processes, with particular focus on biological processes with open mixed cultures.
My current areas of research are the following:
- innovative processes for chemicals (ethanol, organic acids, hydrogen, methane) and energy production from lignocellulosic biomass and organic waste;
- biological wastewater treatment: process optimisation aimed at minimisation of reactor volume and energy consumption and maximisation of energy recovery through combination of aerobic and anaerobic processes; biodegradation of xenobiotics;
I have published 48 papers on international peer-reviewed journals which have received over 1,700 citations and my h-index is 22. I have published 1 book, 2 book chapters and 2 patents. I have over 50 papers or abstracts published as conference proceedings. I have reviewed papers for over 40 international scientific journals, for various conferences and research proposals for several organisations. I have written over 100 internal industrial documents on various chemical engineering topics.
I am currently supervising 5 PhD students. The full list of my papers and citations is available here.
- The Leverhulme Trust, Centre for Doctoral Training in "Sustainable Production of Chemicals and Materials" (Scientific Lead, with 23 other academics), £1,050,000, 2018
- Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW), Research and Development Project "Water and the circular economy-where is the greatest sustainable economic benefit for resource recovery in the water cycle?" (PI, with Josie Geris), £37,409, 2018
- University of Aberdeen, Global Challenges Internal Fund "Production of bioenergy and smart materials from palm tree waste in Malaysia" (co-I, with Alfonso Martinez-Felipe (PI), Claudia Fernandez-Martin and David Vega-Maza), £9,850, 2018
- Scottish Funding Council, Business Interaction Voucher "Anaerobic digestion of crab waste" (PI), £5,000, 2017
- Scottish Funding Council, Business Interaction Voucher "Experimental investigation of an innovative process for the valorisation of raw cheese whey" (PI), £5,000, 2016
- Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Research Incentive Grant "Feasibility of anaerobic digestion of garden waste to produce ethanol, hydrogen and volatile fatty acids" (PI), £7,500, 2015
- Anaerobic Digestion Network (a BBSRC Network), Business Interaction Voucher "Anaerobic digestion of vegetable waste from the food industry" (PI), £5,000, 2015
- Interface Food and Drink Competition "An innovative process for the conversion of wastewaters from the food and drink industry into biofuels and chemicals" (PI), £40,000, 2015
- Brathdair Ltd "An enhanced treatment process for pot ale" (PI), £5,500, 2015
- University of Aberdeen, Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Award "An innovative process for the conversion of wastewaters from the whisky industry into biofuels and chemicals" (PI), £10,000, 2015
- Interface Food and Drink Proof of Principle "An Enhanced Treatment Process for Pot Ale" (PI), £25,000, 2014
- Encompass Kick Start Award "Sequencing Batch Reactor to assess water treatment performance: laboratory translation to field deployment" (PI), £5,000, 2014
- Encompass Kick Start Award "Feasibility of solid separation and evaporation for pot ale treatment" (PI), £10,000, 2014
- Interface Food and Drink "Experimental study on the biotreatability of food industry effluents" (PI), £10,000, 2014
- Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), "Experimental investigation of an innovative process for the treatment of wastewaters from the food and drink industry" (PI),£ 5,000, 2013
- Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), “Olive oil mill effluents as a renewable feedstock for biodegradable polymers production through a sequential anaerobic-aerobic process” 2006-2007
- Advanced Institute for Prevention and Safety in Workplaces (ISPESL), “Preparation of technical sheets on the most frequently used unit operations in Italian short-medium enterprises, with information on principles, vessels and equipment, control systems, graphical schemes and technical regulations”, 2003-2004
- ISPESL, “Use of olive oil mill effluents as secondary feedstock for agro-chemical industry and as soil amendments” 2003-2004
- MIUR, “Production of biodegradable polymers from wastes through activated sludge enriched under periodic conditions” 2001-2002
- ISPESL, “Influence of activated sludge operating parameters on microbial population dynamics for bulking and foaming control” 2000-2002
- National Agency for Environmental Protection (ANPA), “Development of mathematical dynamic and structured models for design and management of activated sludge plants”, 2000-2001
ISPESL, “Development of biological tests for toxicity monitoring in aquatic ecosystems, natural and/or artificial, subject to industrial and/or municipal contamination” 2000-2001
Also, I have been PI or Co-I in 5 research grants funded by industry
I teach biochemical engineering, wastewater treatment and energy from biomass in our undergraduate programme in Chemical Engineering and in our postgraduate programme in Renewable Energy Engineering (which I also co-ordinate).
2016/17-present: Biochemical Engineering EX4016 (co-ordinator and 50% contributor), Renewable Energy 2 (Biomass) EG501K (co-ordinator and 50% contributor), EX501U Air and Water Pollution Control (co-ordinator and 50% contributor), EG5565 MEng Group Design (leader of the bioethanol project).
2015/16: Biochemical Engineering EX4016 (50% contributor), Renewable Energy 2 (Biomass) EG501K (co-ordinator and 50% contributor), EX501U Air and Water Pollution Control (co-ordinator and 50% contributor), EG5565 MEng Group Design (leader of the bioethanol project).
2014/15: Biochemical Engineering EG4016 (sole contributor), Renewable Energy 2 (Biomass) EG501K (sole contributor), Separation Processes 2 EG4530 (contributor)
2013/14: Process Control EG40HC (sole contributor), Process safety and reliability EG5560 (co-ordinator and contributor), Advanced Chemical Engineering EG5597 (contributor)
2012/13: Process Control EG40HC (sole contributor), Process safety and reliability EG5560 (co-ordinator and contributor)
2005/06, 2006/07: Wastewater treatment processes II (sole contributor), for the Master programme in Environmental Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, “Sapienza” University of Rome
2006/07: Wastewater treatment processes (contributor), for the Master programme in Geology Applied to Engineering and Territorial Planning, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, “Sapienza” University of Rome.
2003/04, 2004/05: Laboratory of Industrial Chemical Processes (contributor), for the Bachelor programme in Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, “Sapienza”, University of Rome (course given in Rieti).
2002/03, 2003/04: Laboratory of wastewater treatment processes (contributor), for the Bachelor programme in Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, “Sapienza” University of Rome (course given in Rieti),
I have supervised a total of 21 undergrad project students and 3 post-grad projects.
- Further Info
I have reviewed papers for the following journals:
Anaerobe; Biochemical Engineering Journal; Bioengineering; Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering; Biomass and Bioenergy; Bioresources; Bioresource Technology; Biotechnology and Bioengineering; Biotechnology for Biofuels; Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering; Chemical Engineering Journal; Chemosphere; Desalination and Water Treatment; Ecotoxicological and Environmental Safety; Energies; Environmental Pollution; Environmental Technology; Environment Protection Engineering; Food Technology and Biotechnology; Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research; International Journal of Environmenta and Pollution; International Journal of Molecular Sciences; International Journal of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering; Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology; Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering; Journal of Environmental Management; Journal of Zhejiang University Science B; Macromolecular Bioscience; Maderas-Ciencia y Tecnologia; Marine Drugs; Materials; Microbial Ecology; Microbial Biotechnology; New Biotechnology; Online International Journal of Microbiology Research; Polymers; Process Biochemistry; Pure and Applied Chemistry; Scientific Reports; Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory; Sustainability; Waste Management; Water Research; Water Science and Technology
I have reviewed papers for the following international conferences:
1st International Conference on Sustainable Development of Water and Environment, Shenyan, China, 18-20/01/2018; Second International Conference on Energy Engineering and Environmental Protection, Sanya, China, 20-22/11/2017; 10th IWA Specialised Conference on Design, Operation and Economics of Large Wastewater Treatment Plants, Vienna, Austria, 9-13/09/2007; 5th IWA World Water Congress, Beijing, China, 10-14/09/2006; 4th IWA World Water Congress, Marrakech, Morocco, 19-24/09/2004; 4th IWA ASPD Specialised Conference – Microbial Population Dynamics in Biological Wastewater Treatment, Gold Coast, Australia, 17-20/07/2005; 3rd IWA World Water Congress, Melbourne, Australia, 7-12/04/2002.
I have reviewed research proposals for the following organisations:
BBSRC; NERC; Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space; Interface Food and Drink (Scotland).
Co-ordinator for the MSc programme in Renewable Energy Engineering.
Coordinator for the Chemical Engineering Lab
Areas of professional experience
- Chemical reaction kinetics
- Simulation of chemical reactors, distillation and absorption columns
- Vapour-liquid equilibria
- Mixing in agitated vessels
- Heat transfer
- Mass transfer
- Gas-liquid reactions
- Crystallisation modelling
- Scale up/scale down
- Wet milling
- Computational fluid dynamics
- Filtration technologies
- Membrane separation
- Wastewater treatment
2016 Shortlisted for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, Interface
2014 Aberdeen University Students' Association (AUSA) Thesis supervisor of the year (MPhil, PhD, etc), nominated
2013 University of Aberdeen Excellence in Teaching Award, runner-up (College of Physical Sciences) for the course EG40HC Process Control
2001 Prize “The best PhD thesis in Chemistry for the Environment” (joint award), Inter-University Consortium “Chemistry for the Environment” (INCA), Venice, Italy
Chukwuemeka Chinaka Uzukwu (graduated 2017) "The biodegradation of hydrocarbons using open mixed culture for microbial enhanced oil recovery and bioremediation"
Adamu Abukabar Rasheed (graduated 2017) "Advances in the use of aerobic sequencing batch reactors for biological wastewater treatment"
Igor Maciel de Oliveira e Silva (graduated 2018) "Anaerobic mixed culture fermentation of organic waste for the production of carboxylates, molecular hydrogen and ethanol"
Ifeoluwa Bolaji (due to graduate 2018) "Anaerobic fermentation of organic waste for chemicals production: effect of operating process conditions"