Core Management Group

Management of the Supergen Bioenergy research Hub is undertaken by the Core Management Group (CMG) comprising representatives from each of the core academic institutions, along with the Chair of the Advisory Board, the Chairs of the SHARE Network and representatives from funding councils. The CMG meets physically twice a year and holds bimonthly teleconferences.

CMG membership

Patricia Thornley, Aston University
Tony Bridgwater, Aston University
Mirjam Röder, Aston University
Katie Chong, Aston University
Iain Donnison, Aberystwyth University
Marcelle McManus, University of Bath
Rebecca Rowe, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Jason Hallett, Imperial College London
Chris Hardacre, University of Manchester
Andrew Welfle, University of Manchester
Rob Holland, University of Southampton
Chair of Advisory Board, Progressive Energy
Representative from Chairs of the SHARE network

Secretary: Emma Wylde, Aston University
In attendance: Catriona Heaton, Aston University
Elizabeth Saunders, BBSRC
Roderick Westrop, BBSRC

Meet the CMG

Patricia Thornley – Aston University

Patricia Thornley is director of the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute at Aston University. She is a chartered physicist with over 25 years’ experience of bioenergy in the commercial and academic sectors. Her main research interests are in engineering sustainable bioenergy systems that reconcile disparities between environmental, economic and social impacts of energy provision. Her particular expertise is in process design, modelling and life cycle evaluation.

Patricia is the Director of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub.

Iain Donnison – Aberystwyth University

Iain Donnison leads the Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Theme in Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University. He is a plant and environmental scientist with expertise in crop physiology, genetics and environmental impact of temperate and tropical grasses. His recent work focuses on environmental stress, and strategies for adaptation to, and mitigation of, climate change.

Iain is also committed to the translation of science and working with industry within the bioeconomy to achieve wider impact. For example, the BEACON Biorefining Centre which he leads was recognised as one of Europe’s most innovative projects winning the European Commission’s RegioStars Award for Sustainable Growth.

Iain leads the Resources Topic Group. He is also Associate Director of the Supergen Bioenergy Hub.

Jason Hallett – Imperial College London

Jason Hallett is Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technology within the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. He did his BS degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Maine (USA) and PhD in Chemical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (USA) under the direction of Prof Charles Eckert and Prof Charles Liotta. He joined the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College in 2006 as a Marshall-Sherfield Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and later became a Research Lecturer in 2008. He joined the Department in 2014 and currently leads a group of 8 postdocs and 16 PhD students with a focus on solvent design for reduced environmental impact in chemical processes. This has included the development of cost-effective designer solvents (ionic liquids) for large-scale applications in renewable energy, most prominently the processing of lignocellulosic biomass. These solvents are lower cost than common organic solvents, and capable of targeted separations in a variety of industrial applications. He has published over 90 papers with an h-index of 37 (ca. 14,500 citations) and 6 patents. He is also the director of the Imperial Network of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology. In 2017 he embarked on the commercialization of his biorefinery research by founding Chrysalix Technologies, LTD.

Jason leads the Pre-treatment and Conversion Topic Group.

Chris Hardacre – University of Manchester

Christopher Hardacre is Head of the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at University of Manchester. His research group focuses on ionic liquids and catalysis, with projects in environmental and biomass processing, energy, fine chemical synthesis, plasma catalysis for emission control and clean hydrogen production and fundamental aspects of liquid structure. Much of the work has centred around developing new catalytic processes as well as investigating the structure-activity/selectivity relationships using in-situ spectroscopic and structural methods. He has published over 400 papers and nine patents. His work is funded by EPSRC, TSB, Royal Society (RS), industry, local government and European Commission (EC). He was part of the Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratory which attained the Queen’s Award for Further and Higher Education in 2006. Awarded the RSC Teamwork in Innovation (2005), the USA 2008 R and D 100 award and the IChemE Andrew Medal for Catalysis (2013). He is a co-PI and currently Director of the UK Catalysis Hub and an elected Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Chris leads the Pre-treatment and Conversion Topic Group.

Tony Bridgwater – Aston University

Tony Bridgwater is Professor of Chemical Engineering at Aston University, specialising in thermal conversion of biomass for production of fuels and chemicals. He obtained his first degree in Chemical Engineering from UMIST followed by several years working for BP in Sunbury. After returning to Aston, he gained his PhD and DSc.

His current interests are focused on the development of fast pyrolysis of biomass and the fuel and chemical products that can be derived from the liquids. He plays a key role in several major European-funded projects focusing on bioenergy, biofuels and biorefineries. He has been actively involved in bioenergy for over 30 years and has published extensively.

He is Technical Director of the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University, and has been involved in winning over £25 million in research grants.

Tony leads the Pre-treatment and Conversion Topic Group.

Marcelle McManus – University of Bath

Marcelle McManus is Professor of Energy and Environmental Engineering at the University of Bath. Her research interests include investigating the life cycle environmental impact of various products and systems, primarily related to renewable energy and products. Much of the focus of her research has been on integrated life cycle appraisals of sustainable and renewable technologies. Detailed assessment of the environmental impact of these systems is required in order to ensure we are making the best, most effective use of the resources we have, while ensuring the continuity of our power systems. Within the Supergen Bioenergy Hub, Marcelle has particular responsibility for the Vectors theme in which we explore the differing options for biomass and bioenergy use.

Marcelle leads the Vectors Topic Group.

Mirjam Röder – Aston University

Mirjam Röder is a Senior Research Fellow at the Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) at Aston University. Her research interests focus on bioenergy and related sustainability implications, bioenergy in the context of global challenges and development and the role of bioenergy systems in climate change mitigation including bioenergy with carbon capture and storage/utilisation. Mirjam has a strong background of whole systems and interdisciplinary approaches using quantitative and qualitative methods, including carbon modelling, lifecycle assessment, multi-criteria assessment, qualitative interview methods and focus groups. Mirjam leads the Supergen Bioenergy Hub topic Systems investigating the sustainability implications of bioenergy systems to maximise environmental and socio-economic benefits and mitigate negative impacts.

Mirjam leads the Systems Topic Group.

Katie Chong – Aston University

Katie Chong is a lecturer in chemical engineering at Aston University. She has a particular interest in the thermochemical conversion of biomass and wastes, biorefinery process synthesis and techno-economic evaluation. In particular Katie likes to make techno-economic and environmental assessment data more accessible for the non-expert.

Katie has significant industrial experience, having worked in the paper industry and as a bioenergy consultant. Since returning to academia, Katie has successfully won and completed a number of BBSRC and EPSCRC projects in bioenergy. Katie is involved in a number of research consortia and is currently working on a GCRF project relating to the use of rice straw in India and Vietnam, and is also working with Stellenbosch University developing a techno-economic model for the evaluation of a paper mill based biorefinery.

Katie is currently a Regional Chair for the biomass and wastes special interest group of the Fuel and Energy Research Forum and is a committee member of the IChemE Clean Energy Special Interest Group.

Katie is Topic Group Representative for Pre-treatment and Conversion.

Robert Holland – University of Southampton

As an ecologist and conservation scientist, Robert Holland is interested in understanding how the planet’s resources can be used sustainably. His current work focuses on the relationship between human demand for energy and the implications that this has for biodiversity, natural capital and ecosystem services. His research seeks to widen the debate around energy systems to think ‘beyond carbon’ and consider how society can make informed choices about desirable energy options based on a broader understanding of the environmental consequences.

Before taking up his current post as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton Robert worked for the IUCN as freshwater biodiversity programme, and for the British Science Association as a professional science communicator.

Robert is Topic Group Representative for Systems and Resources.

Andrew Welfle – University of Manchester

Andrew Welfle is a Research Associate within the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester. His research interests are biomass resource modelling, bioenergy scenarios, the global trade of biomass trade for energy end uses, and the wider benefits and impacts of bioenergy pathways. Andrew also has experience of lifecycle assessment and analysis of bioenergy policy. Prior to joining the Tyndall Centre, Andrew worked for an engineering consultancy specialising in sustainability and energy of the built environment. He is a previous Chair of our SHARE network.

Andrew is Topic Group Representative for Vectors and Resources.

Rebecca Rowe – Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Rebecca Rowe’s main research expertise is in sustainable agricultural land use, with a focus on the impacts of land management on biodiversity, soil carbon and ecosystem services. She works in a range of systems including bioenergy crops and more recently tropical agroforestry systems. She has skills in the assessment of biodiversity meditated ecosystem processes, soil C stocks changes, greenhouse gas emissions, experimental planning and statistical analysis. She seeks to use these skills to support the development of sustainable land-use solutions, recognising the need to produce food, fibre and fuel whilst protecting the natural environment.

Rebecca is Topic Group Representative for Resources and Systems.

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