UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


Dr Elena Catalanotti

Research Fellow

Dept of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
10th Sep 2018

Research summary


Daphne Jackson Fellowship: “Comparative Assessments of Emerging Biomass Gasification Strategies”

Supervisor Prof Haroun Mahgerefteh

This project deals with the issue involving the development of biomass gasification as an efficient and environmentally benign carbon negative source of energy. A chemical kinetic model for the gasification of bio-oil slurry, obtained from pyrolysis of different biomass feedstocks, is being developed. The modelling platform is MATLAB and the model is being validated against published data. The gasification process is then  modelled for an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, using Aspen Plus®. Baseline case studies for conventional techniques such as Fixed Bed Gasifier with air as gasifying agent, and CO2 pre-combustion capture in a water shift reactor are produced and compared with emerging technologies. These include different types of gasifiers, fluidized bed gasifier and entrained flow gasifier, with steam or oxygen enriched gasifying agents. A particular focus of this research is in situ CO2 absorption with CaO sorbent embedded in the gasifier. A techno-economic evaluation of the costs associated with greenhouse gas removal using bio-CCS, using the built-in economic analyser in Aspen Plus®, are undertaken in order to compare the different technologies and discuss the economic performance of the novel approaches investigated.


Postdoctoral Research Associate

Elena Catalanotti graduated in Chemistry at the University ‘Federico II’ of Naples in 2006. In 2007 she was appointed for a PhD founded through a Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Leeds. The focus of the study was the development and validation of chemical kinetic model for the combustion of alternative aviation fuels through experimental investigation, and it was completed in 2011. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on techno-economics of carbon capture in coal and biomass power stations.

She was recently awarded with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship and she is currently working on the development of a model for biomass gasification and techno-economic analyses of the use of biomass coupled with carbon capture (BIO-CCS) for energy generation.