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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology



With the background in fuel processing, Dr Ewa Marek was involved in R&D activities and measurements at industrial sites (mostly conventional power plants). At the same time, she earned a Ph.D. on single-particle combustion characteristics using high-speed imaging. Those skills have been handy during a short post-doc adventure University of Nottingham. Since 2014 she has been an active researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she worked at Engineering Dept. before becoming a lecturer at Chemical Eng. Dept, where she now leads the ERC group, supporting Prof. Dennis.



Prof. John Dennis is Head of the University's School of Technology, after having been Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. He was an undergraduate in the Engineering Department in Cambridge and then transferred to the Chemical Engineering Tripos, graduating in 1981. He stayed on to do a Ph.D. with Prof. Allan Hayhurst. Soon after that, in 1984, he was promoted to an assistant lectureship in the Department and undertook teaching and research until 1989, working on the control of sulphur emissions from fluidised bed combustors and on how gases burn in fluidised beds.

He has experience in earning a living outside a university, when working as a consultant. Occasionally, he now succeeds in leaving his administrative duties to think about research.

Prof. Allan Hayhurst is an Emeritus Professor with more than 250 publications on various aspects of Chemical Engineering, flames and air pollution, including fluidised beds. He has been Editor of the journal “Combustion and Flame”. He was awarded the Egerton Gold Medal of The Combustion Institute and is an Honorary Professor at Krakow University of Technology. His current interests include using biomass as a clean and sustainable source of energy and how to burn wastes (solid, liquid or gaseous) responsibly in a fluidised bed. Although nominally retired, he enjoys meeting and working with young researchers.
Joe Gebers completed M.Phil. in Advanced Chemical Engineering at CEB (distinctions). Continuing the work from his M.Phil. research thesis, he is now working in the STEREO project. This is a collaborative effort coordinated by the University of Cambridge with two Southern African universities to develop point-of-use production of ethylene oxide for the sterilisation of medical equipment using two catalytic reactions. Joe is implementing our chemical looping approach, collaborating with Dr Rob Grant from Gas Recovery and Recycle.

Dr Michael Sargent joined the group in 2017 while finishing his Ph.D. in microstructure processing with the P4Group here in CEB. His research is less involved in combustion reactions and instead draws on Prof Dennis' experience in separation processes, looking at methods by which Nylon monomers may be separated and purified from one another, contaminants, as well as by-products of synthesis or recycle processes. The monomers make these processes interesting because the organic molecules are differently charged, depending on the pH of the solution, leading to applications of chromatographic separation, as well as solvents of differing polarity.

Zach Bond is a Ph.D. student studying the combustion of woody biomass in fluidised beds, in particular how the emission of volatile matter from the fuel affects the heat transfer and motion of the fuel in the fluidised medium. He studied Chemical Engineering as an undergraduate here at C.E.B. and undertook his Master’s research project, on Calcium Looping, in the ERC Group.

Clayton Rabideau is a Ph.D. student. He joined the group in 2016. He is an expert on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and uses both in bio-chemical engineering applications.

Samuel Gabra is a Ph.D. student who joined the group in 2017, having completed his M.Phil. in Energy Technologies at the University of Cambridge. His current research explores the possibilities of using Chemical Looping techniques to produce value-added chemicals (e.g., ethylene and ethylene oxide) in greener, safer and more cost-effective ways.

Kenny Kwong is a 3rd year Ph.D. student, working on chemical looping combustion with oxygen-uncoupling (CLOU) of solid fuel particles in a fluidised bed. He obtained his M.Eng. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge and is currently supervising such undergraduate courses as Process dynamics and Control and Partial Differential Equations. Apart from work, he enjoys long-distance running (in the summer) and snow watching (in the winter).

Alex Harrison is a Ph.D. student who joined the group in 2020, after taking his undergraduate and master's degrees in chemical engineering, here, at Cambridge. His research is in investigating how chemical looping can be used in chemical production, such as for propylene oxide and ammonia, and is supported by scholarships from the University Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge Trust and EPSRC.


Master's research projects (IIB)


Siqi Xu is working on modelling of pyrolysis of a single particle of wood. Supervisor: Prof. Hayhurst and Dr Marek.


Luke Mleczko and Walid Moujar Bakhti are studying the combustion of chars. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: Kenny Kwong.

Udayin Adukia and Shekeil Nasser are investigating promoters for chemical looping epoxidation. Supervisor: Dr Marek, mentor: Samuel Gabra.

Josephine Ruggins and Alex Willimas are working on the combustion of a liquid waste like glycerol in a fluidised bed. Supervisor: Prof. Hayhurst and Dr Marek.


Andras Volford and Thomas Redko worked on pyrolysis of single particles of spruce. Some results from this research project have been published in Combustion and Flame.

Thomas McCann during his research project combusted industrial glycerol. This was the first successful and longlasting combustion of waste glycerol performed in a fluidised bed. His findings have been submitted for publication.

Past Members

Dr Wenting Hu. He is now a University Lecturer at the Newcastle University.

Dr Martin Chan, now working for a secret start-up company.

Dr Felix Donat, now at ETH Zurich.

Dr Ross Hubble, now at Comsol.

Dr Paul Hodgson, now a PDRA at the Dept. of Engineering, Cambridge.

Prof. John Davidson was most well known for his pioneering works on fluidisation, which were published as Fluidised Particles (1963), one of the first books on fluidisation. John's career is well described on his Wikipedia page.