Lead: Professor Cedric Briens, University of Western Ontario

The thermochemical processing theme will develop pyrolysis technologies to degrade lignin to smaller fragments. The initial bio-oil produced in pyrolysis is a complex mixture of highly-oxygenated organic compounds. Thus in addition to optimizing pyrolysis operating parameters, this theme includes projects to deoxygenate, extract and purify the bio-oil to make a suitable feedstock for existing chemical refineries.

The Team

Professor Cedric Briens is a founding member of the Western Fluidization Group at the University of Western Ontario. He has over 25 years of experience in both academia and industry. His areas of expertise are fluidization and particulate operations.


Professor Franco Berruti is an expert in the development of predictive hydrodynamic models for gas-solid fast fluidized beds, including Circulating Fluidized Bed risers (upflow) and downers (downflow), turbulent fluidized beds, spouted beds and spout-fluid beds.

Professor Jamal Chaouki is a leader of the CRIP- Biorefinery research centre at L’Ecole Polytechnique. He is conducting breakthrough research on high-temperature catalytic processing of biomass and hydrocarbons with emphasis on waste feedstocks, fluidized beds, and optimizing process designs, performance, and hydrodynamics

Professor Charles Xu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Lakehead University. His areas of expertise are bio-energy and bio-refining technologies for the production of hydrogen, bio-crude, bio-based chemicals (phenols and phenolic resins and adhesives) and materials from forest/agricultural biomass and waste streams.

Professor Philip G. Jessop is the Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry at Queens University and Technical Director of GreenCentre Canada. His ground breaking research into switchable surfactants for the green separation of oil and water has been names as one of the Top 20 Canadian discoveries of the past 100 years by the Canadian Institute of Chemistry.


Project ID Project Name
2-1 Fluidized bed pyrolysis of lignin (C. Briens, UWO)
2-2 Conversion of lignins to aromatics (C. Xu, Lakehead University)
2-3 Microwave pyrolysis of lignin (J. Chaouki, Ecole Polytechnique)
2-4 Extraction of aromatics from lignin pyrolysis oils (F. Berruti, UWO)
2-5 Using switchable solvents to extract aromatics (P Jessop, Queens)