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.

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Area of Expertise

  • 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.
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Synthesis of novel Mo-Ni@Al2O3 catalyst for converting fatty acid esters into diesel-range alkanes with enhanced hydrodeoxygenation selectivity
Cao Xincheng, Wu Shiyu, Zhao Jiaping, Long Feng, Jia Shuya, Zhang Xiaolei, Xu Junming, Jiang Jianchun
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental Vol 343 (2024)
Investigation into the effect of solvents on lignin hydrogenation for the production of phenolic compounds
Liu Chao, Wu Yiqiang, Cai Tingting, Chen Yuwei, Jia Shuya, Zhang Xiaolei, Li Zhaoshuang, Wu Zhiping, Qing Yan, Jiang Jianchun, Wang Kui
Green Chemistry Vol 26, pp. 3356-3367 (2024)
Theoretical insights into chemical recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Conroy Stuart, Zhang Xiaolei
Polymer Degradation and Stability Vol 223 (2024)
Electron transfer and microbial mechanism of synergistic degradation of lignocellulose by hydrochar and aerobic fermentation
Yu Chengze, Li Mingxiao, Huang Haipeng, Yan Jie, Zhang Xiaolei, Luo Tao, Ye Meiying, Meng Fanhua, Sun Tiecheng, Hou Jiaqi, Xi Beidou
Bioresource Technology Vol 394 (2024)
Enhanced ruthenium selectivity for the conversion of FAMEs to diesel-range alkanes by surface decoration of FeOx species
Cao Xincheng, Zhao Jiaping, Jia Shuya, Long Feng, Chen Yuwei, Zhang Xiaolei, Xu Junming, Jiang Jianchun
Chemical Engineering Journal Vol 481 (2024)
An effective method for the direct crystallization of xylonic acid from fermentation broth of agricultural residue hydrolysate
Lv Yang, Yu Qiang, Han Jian, Ding Zhijia, Zhang Xiaolei, Xu Yong
Industrial Crops and Products Vol 207 (2024)

More publications

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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.

Available PhD projects:

Atomic/molecular insights into the formation of valuable products from waste biomass

System design on co-production of transport fuel and value-added chemicals from waste biomass

Professional Activities

28th Annual SCI-CSCST Conference
Bio-SNG production via dual fluidised bed gasification: a modelling approach
External Examiner
Valorisation of Solid Waste to Advanced Fuels and Materials
Invited speaker
Fundamental studies of ethanol oxidation reaction in Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells using density functional theory (DFT) Calculations
External Examiner
Biomass Waste to Advanced Fuels and Materials
27th Annual CSCST-SCI Conference: Sustainable Energy and Manufacturing the Future (Event)

More professional activities


Catalyst advancement for the conversion of waste gas into low carbon aviation fuel (AKT with LEF)
Neagu, Dragos (Principal Investigator) Zhang, Xiaolei (Co-investigator)
25-Jan-2024 - 23-Jan-2024
From solar energy to fuel: A holistic artificial photosynthesis platform for the production of viable solar fuels (HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03)(REFINE)
Neagu, Dragos (Principal Investigator) Somorin, Tosin (Co-investigator) Zhang, Xiaolei (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2023 - 31-Jan-2027
Sustainable plastics for bathroom products
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator) Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2022
System integration and module exploration on full valorization of main lignocellulosic constitutes based on self-providing acid pretreatment
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
31-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2024
System Integration and Module Exploration on Full Valorisation of Main Lignocellulosic Constitutes based on Self-providing Acid Pretreatment
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator)
Royal Society International Exchanges 2021 Cost Share (NSFC) (IEC\NSFC\211370)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2024
Efficient utilization of biochar for water remediation and soil amendment - towards a circular economy
Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator) Davidson, Christine (Co-investigator) Fletcher, Ashleigh (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2025

More projects

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Dr Xiaolei Zhang
Chancellor'S Fellowships
Chemical and Process Engineering

Email: xiaolei.zhang@strath.ac.uk
Tel: 548 4131