Keynote Speakers

Keynote and Invited Speakers

Listed in order of appearance: 

Ralph P. Overend Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Dr. Ralph Overend serves as the Chief Scientist of NextFuels, LLC. Dr. Overend worked in bioenergy and renewable energy since 1973 as a researcher, research manager and coordinator of research and development in both Canada and the United States. Prior to that, he worked at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. He joined the U.S. DOE Biomass Power program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1990, and served as its Project Leader in 1990. He was a a Research Fellow of NREL from 2000 to 2006, where he led the laboratory director’s research and development fund selection process and participated in the long-term strategic development of the laboratory. He edits the journal, Biomass and Bioenergy, published by Elsevier. He has also served as a United Nations, World Bank, and FAO lecturer/advisor in the USSR, China, Pakistan, and Mexico.

Catherine Bremner Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Catherine is responsible for the Science – energy and climate team in the UK’s Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The team is responsible for the UK’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory and sponsor to the Met Office Hadley Centre. Catherine is also on the advisory board of UK ERC, CSIRO, Climate Works and Climate Bonds Initiative globally.

Catherine has more than 15 years of experience in clean energy, environmental finance, science and engineering. As Head of Sustainable Finance Solutions – ANZ, Catherine provided advice to clients in developing opportunities for environmental finance solutions and applying her specialist banking expertise relevant to clean energy/environmental sector. Catherine led development of ANZ’s first Environmental Upgrade Agreement financing, Green Bond, distributed energy financing and energy efficiency advisory roles.

Prior to joining ANZ, Catherine was the Chief Operating Officer at Low Carbon Australia, leading the deal teams providing finance for energy efficiency and renewable projects to Westpac, National Australia Bank, Macquarie, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Flexi-rent and Australian corporates. As Head of International Development for the UK Government’s Carbon Trust Catherine negotiated the JV on low carbon technology development between the Carbon Trust and the Chinese Government State Owned Entity.

Catherine is a graduate of the Australian Companies Institute of Directors (AICD) and Chief Executive Women scholarship beneficiary. Catherine was an analyst at McKinsey & Company. She holds a Masters in Environmental Management (MSc) from Oxford University and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (BEChem Hons 1st) from the University of Queensland and was awarded the Shell and Mt Isa Mines Scholarships.

Evelyne Thiffault Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Evelyne Thiffault is an Assistant Professor at Université Laval and a trained forest engineer. She is also a member of the Research Centre on Renewable Materials. She leads research on the sustainable utilisation of forest biomass, including unused forest residues and its ecological and socio-economic impacts on forest management systems. She also leads work analysing wood properties and biomass feedstock specifications for various bioenergy conversion pathways and assesses sustainability considerations and market conditions for biomass in Canada. She has long-term experience in forest carbon budgets and forest supply chains focusing on bioenergy integration into conventional forest product chains.

Prof Thiffault coordinats a project on the mobilisation of forest bioenergy in boreal and temperate biomes for IEA Bioenergy. She chairs the Forestry Task of BioFuelNet Canada, investigating sustainable development of advanced biofuels in collaboration with policy and industrial stakeholders.

Professor Raffaella Ocone Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Raffaella Ocone has a degree in Chemical Engineering (MEng) from the Università di Napoli, Federico II, a PhD and an MA in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. She holds the Chair of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) in the UK. Before joining HWU, she was a Reader in Chemical Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Nottingham, UK, Lecturer at the University of Naples, Italy, and Visiting Professor at Louisiana State University, USA and the University Claude Bernard, France.

Her research has been recognised by a number of awards, including the Royal Academy of Engineering/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2006 and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh/Scottish Government Support Fellowship in 2010. In 2014 she spent six months at Petroineos Refinery in Grangemouth (Scotland) on a Royal Academy Industrial Secondment working in the area of Health and Safety, specifically on the storage and accidental dispersion of sour water. Her main research areas are the modelling of granular media and the kinetics of complex reactive systems. She led a Leverhulme International Network Grant investigating the production of bio-char for carbon capture and developed a model methodology to investigate pyrolysis of biomass and wastes. She holds an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship in the area of Particle Technology.

Benoit Gabrielle Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Currently research professor of environmental biophysics at the Paris Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences (AgroParisTech), Benoît GABRIELLE joined the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) after a Ph.D. on the environmental balance of oilseed rape in the context of biodiesel production. He is currently affiliated with a research unit focusing on the functional ecology of agro-ecosystems, located in Grignon (west of Paris).

His research interests include the biophysical modelling of agro-ecosystems, the environmental assessment of arable and energy crops, and the sustainability analysis of bioenergy chains. He was a lead-author on the Bioenergy chapter of the special report of IPCC on renewable energy (released in 2012), and coordinated the EU-funded project Logist’EC aiming at improving logistics for biomass supply from energy crops (2012-2016).

Professor Jenny Jones Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Prof. Jones is a past EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow and a Professor in Sustainable Energy at the University of Leeds.  She is Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy.  She was Financial Manager and Co-Director of the £6.4 million EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy Consortium (2003-2011), and is an executive member of the current SUPERGEN Bioenergy Hub.  Prof. Jones holds a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry from the University of Calgary, Canada (1992), and a M.Sc. in Surface and Colloid Science from the University of Bristol.  She joined the Department of Fuel & Energy, University of Leeds in 1995, and was promoted to Professor in March 2008.  Prior to this, she pursued post-doctoral research at Northern Carbon Research Laboratories, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the area coal and carbon science.  She is author or co-author of approximately 250 journal and conference papers.

Professor Christopher Hardacre Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Chris Hardacre is Head of the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at Aston University. He obtained a PhD from Cambridge University in 1994 and was an SERC/junior research fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He moved to Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB) in 1995 as a lecturer in Physical Chemistry and in 2003, he was appointed as Professor of Physical Chemistry. In 2016, he moved to Aston University. In 2004 he was awarded a USAF, Window on Science visiting research fellowship. He was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Encouraging Innovation Award with Merck Chemicals Ltd in 2005 for is work in ionic liquids and the US R and D 100 award for the development of spatially resolved measurements in catalytic monoliths with Alex Goguet (QUB) and colleagues from the Oak Ridge National Lab in 2008. In 2013 he was the inaugural winner of the IChemE’s Andrew Medal for catalysis. He has published over 350 papers, 9 patents, 6 book chapters and has an H-index of 57.

Professor Nilay Shah Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Professor Shah is director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering, which currently has over 25 academics and 80 researchers. It is one of the largest groups in the world researching model-based systems engineering applied to the process and energy sectors. Nilay Shah  has authored over 100 journal papers on areas including energy systems engineering, bio-energy systems, and hydrogen infrastructures.

Mr Alex Moscuzza Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Biog to follow

Mr Neil Harrison Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Neil has been working in the biomass energy industry since 2003.  After gaining an MSc in Rural Resource Management from Newcastle University, Neil spent a year with the Peak District National Park Authority before joining the Scottish governments’ nature conservation agency in 1998.  Following a spell working on land reform, he joined a government-funded forestry extension programme in the north east of England, and began working in the development of the UK woodfuel supply chain.  He was the principal author of the Ignite woodfuel training programme in 2004, which went on to win a National Training Award in 2006, and he played an active role in creating woodfuel producer groups in northern England and Scotland to underpin the nascent biomass heat industry.

Following a move to New Zealand in 2007 to work in the biomass heat sector there, he returned in 2010 to join the Scottish Agricultural College as their senior biomass consultant, before establishing re:heat in 2011.  re:heat are a private enterprise focusing exclusively on biomass energy, and undertakes consultancy, installation, research and remedial contracts across the UK.  Neil is currently the Vice Chairman of the Wood Heat Association, and has held a number of other paid and voluntary board and advisory positions, including with DECC/BEIS, Forestry Commission England, the Carbon Trust, the Confederation of Forest Industries and the European Union.  He is currently working for UNDP in the former Soviet republic of Georgia as their external advisor on biomass energy, and has spoken at conferences in the UK, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, Georgia and the USA.

Mr William Cracroft-Eley Editor and Chief Biomass and Bioenergy

Since planting Miscanthus at home in 2006 and realising it’s excellent potential as a stable farm enterprise on difficult land, William has made it his mission to bring order and transparency to Miscanthus supply.

William established Terravesta Ltd in 2012 to deliver a secure and reliable national contract-based supply chain and develop the market for Miscanthus as the UK’s no.1 energy crop.