Dr Xiaolei Zhang

Chancellor'S Fellowships

Chemical and Process Engineering

Personal statement

The main stream of my research is solid waste valorization for the production of power, heat, fuel, and chemicals. I work on thermochemical conversion technologies (pyrolysis, gasification, liquefaction, combustion, co-firing), and further upgrading. The final products of interest include fossil compatible fuel (bio-gasoline, bio-diesel), fuel additives (ethanol, methanol, dimethyl ether, oxymethylene ethers), gaseous products (hydrogen, methane) and bio-chemicals (e.g. levoglucosan); to realize low carbon, low cost, and low GHG emission bio-fuel production. The research approaches include Quantum Mechanics modelling based on Density Functional Theory (DFT), Molecular Dynamic modelling, Process Modelling, Thermodynamic and Kinetic experimental investigation and Techno-economic Analysis. I have been awarded research projects from various funding bodies including EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, and industry.

I received a Ph.D. degree from Royal Institute of Technology-KTH, Stockholm, Sweden, and worked as a Post-doc Research Fellow in University of Alberta, Canada. From January 2015 to June 2019, I worked at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) as a Lecturer and joined University of Strathclyde in July 2019 as a Senior Lecturer (Chancellor's Fellow) under Strathclyde Global Talent Programme. I am currently on the editorial board of two international journals and I am an academic member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a member of the Energy Institute (EI) and a member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

I am a Fellow of Higher Education Academy in the UK, and have taught core Engineering courses include Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, and Heat Transfer.


Has expertise in:

    • Quantum Mechanics (QM) modelling based on Density Functional Theory (DFT);
    • Process design and optimization of energy systems;
    • Thermodynamic, Energy and Exergy analysis;
    • Techno-economic analysis, System design.


Process simulation of co-firing torrefied biomass in a 220 MWe coal-fired power plant
Li Jun, Zhang Xiaolei, Pawlak-Kruczek Halina, Yang Weihong, Kruczek Pawel, Blasiak Wlodzimierz
Energy Conversion and Management Vol 84, pp. 503-511 (2014)
Char oxidation of torrefied biomass at high temperatures and high heating rates
Li Jun, Bonvicini Giorgio, Zhang Xiaolei, Yang Weihong, Tognotti Leonardo
Energy Procedia Vol 61, pp. 582-586 (2014)
Effects of flue gas internal recirculation on NOx and SOx emissions in a co-firing boiler
Li Jun, Zhang Xiaolei, Yang Weihong, Blasiak Wlodzimierz
International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy Vol 2, pp. 13-21 (2013)
Formation mechanism of levoglucosan and formaldehyde during cellulose pyrolysis
Zhang Xiaolei, Li Jun, Yang Weihong, Blasiak Wlodzimierz
Energy and Fuels Vol 25, pp. 3739-3746 (2011)

more publications

Research interests

  • Waste valorization for production of fuels and advanced materials;
  • Bioenergy, biofuel, production of high value-added chemicals;
  • Pyrolysis, gasification, combustion, carbonization;
  • Process design and manufacturing of renewable energy systems.

Professional activities

Biomass Waste to Advanced Fuels and Materials
27th Annual CSCST-SCI Conference: Sustainable Energy and Manufacturing the Future (Event)
Strathclyde Global Engineering Webinar Series
Accelerating Net Zero Chemical Manufacturing Webinar Series
STEP -Studio in your Pocket -How to Use Video & Audio in your Teaching
2020 International Summit on Bio-based Chemicals and Materials

more professional activities


Atomic Level investigation on developing optimal pathways for liquid biofuels (Transfer from QUB)
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2020
From atoms to plant: co-production of green transport fuel and levoglucosan from waste biomass (First Grant) (Transfer)
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 14-Jan-2020
From atoms to plant: co-production of renewable diesel and levoglucosan from waste biomass
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
04-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2020
Atomic-level investigation on developing optimal pathways for liquid biofuels
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
25-Jan-2017 - 20-Jan-2020

more projects


Chemical and Process Engineering
James Weir Building

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