ChE Pirkey Seminar – “Eco-efficient downstream processing of biofuels by process intensification” by Dr. Tony Kiss (University of Manchester, UK)

Host: Dr. Michael Baldea; Pirkey Endowed Lectureship


The need for greater sustainability for the production of fuels and chemicals has spurred significant research to substitute fossil fuel sources by renewable sources in industry. However, most research in biorefineries has focused on the conversion (e.g. thermo-chemical, biological, chemical) or pre-treatment parts, whereas the real cost of biorefineries is in the downstream processing that accounts for 60-80% of the total cost of production. The critical issue of costly separations can be addressed by applying process intensification principles coupled with a systems approach to bio-based chemical routes, to make otherwise uneconomic and unsustainable routes become viable.

This lecture reviews eco-efficient separation processes that can reduce the downstream processing costs by 20-50% using novel technologies and setups developed specifically to suit the difficult bio-separations involving complex mixtures where the useful products are in low concentration.


Tony Kiss is a professor and chair in chemical engineering at The University of Manchester, and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder. His early passion for chemistry led him to win several awards at Olympiads and to become member of the National Chemistry Olympic Team. He holds an MSc degree in Chemical Engineering from the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, where he graduated as the best student and also worked for several years as teaching assistant. Afterwards, he successfully earned a PhD at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He worked as PostDoc fellow at DeltChemTech (TU Delft) on PSE projects, and then again as PostDoc at UvA focusing on catalysis. Tony has over a decade of industrial experience, working as Senior Project Manager/Leader + RD&I Specialist in Separation Technology at AkzoNobel –  Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I).

Next to his industrial role, he was also appointed as part-time professor of Separation Technology at University of Twente, in the Sustainable Process Technology group. During the past decade, he carried out many research & industrial projects, supervised graduation projects, published several textbooks, book chapters, and over 100 scientific articles. For the pioneering work and remarkable achievements in his area of scientific research, he was rewarded in 2013 with the Hoogewerff Jongerenprijs – a very prestigious award recognizing the most promising young scientist in The Netherlands. He also led his team to receive in 2013 the AkzoNobel Innovation Excellence Award for the most successful industrial innovation. More information is available at:

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