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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Alcohol production from fatty acids via Ni3Fe/Rutile : revealing the role of oxygen vacancy and metal-support electronic density characteristics
Long Feng, Wu Shiyu, Chen Haitian, Jia Shuya, Cao Xincheng, Liu Peng, Lu Yanju, Jiang Jianchun, Zhang Xiaolei, Xu Junming
Journal of Catalysis (2023)
A resistance-driven H2 gas sensor : high-entropy alloy nanoparticles decorated 2D MoS2
Mondal Bidesh, Zhang Xiaolei, Kumar Sumit, Long Feng, Katiyar Nirmal Kumar, Kumar Mahesh, Goel Saurav, Biswas Krishanu
Nanoscale (2023)
Density functional theory study on biodiesel production from yeast lipid catalyzed by imidazolium ionic liquid
Chen Yuwei, Zhang Xiaolei, Zheng Yunwu, Jiang Jianchun, Long Feng, Liu Wei, Xu Junming, Nie Xiaoan
Journal of Molecular Liquids Vol 385 (2023)
ReOx promotes Ni cluster interactions on TiO to improve the activity and durability for green alkane and alcohol production at low temperature
Long Feng, Chen Yuwei, Chen Haitian, Cao Xincheng, Wu Shiyu, Lu Yanju, Liu Peng, Jiang Jianchun, Zhang Xiaolei, Xu Junming
Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2023)
Tungsten oxide-based Z-scheme for visible light-driven hydrogen production from water splitting
Thangamuthu Madasamy, Vankayala Kiran, Xiong Lunqiao, Conroy Stuart, Zhang Xiaolei, Tang Junwang
ACS Catalysis Vol 13, pp. 9113-9124 (2023)
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Virtual special issue : Thermal and catalytical chemical conversions of plastic wastes for sustainable production of energy, fuels, and chemicals
Jin Hui, Xiong Qingang, Zhang Xiaolei, Zhang Yaning
ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering Vol 11, pp. 7924-7926 (2023)

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


EPSRC Core equipment - Benchtop X-Ray Diffractometer
Neagu, Dragos (Principal Investigator) Hamilton, Andrea (Co-investigator) Craig, Gavin (Co-investigator) Ivaturi, Aruna (Co-investigator) Zhang, Xiaolei (Co-investigator) Inglezakis, Vasileios (Co-investigator) Fletcher, Ashleigh (Co-investigator) Roy, Sudipta (Co-investigator) Massabuau, Fabien (Co-investigator) Rahimi, Salaheddin (Co-investigator) Steedman, Andrew (Co-investigator)
The project aThe instrument is a Benchtop X-Ray Diffractometer, which is a device that can analyse the structure and composition of various materials. It can provide data on crystal and molecular structure, phase identification and quantification, and crystallite size and strain. It is suitable for a wide range of inorganic and organic materials in different forms, such as powders, films, or solids. The instrument is compact, fast, easy to use, and low-cost, making it ideal for routine and high-throughput analysis. It can support research in many fields, such as materials science, engineering, chemistry, energy, and healthcare.
The instrument was acquired through an EPSRC Core Equipment fund, with an internally allocated £64k from the University of Strathclyde
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
Biochar Water Remediation Research Project
Fletcher, Ashleigh (Co-investigator) Zhang, Xiaolei (Principal Investigator) Davidson, Christine (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2021

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