Prof. Raffaella Ocone

Department of Chemical Engineering,

Heriot-Watt University, UK


Raffaella Ocone obtained her first degree in Chemical Engineering from the Università di Napoli, Italy and her MA and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, USA. She holds the Chair of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) since 1999. She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), and the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2007 she was appointed Cavaliere (Knight) of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by the President of the Italian Republic. In The Queen's 2019 New Year Honours she was appointed Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for services to engineering. Recently she has been announced as one of the top 100 Most Influential Women in the Engineering Sector. The list, produced by board appointments firm Inclusive Boards in partnership with the Financial Times, includes senior leaders from top engineering firms such as Amey, Arup, BAE Systems, and Laing O'Rourke. Raffaella has taken a leading role in debating the role that ethics plays in engineering and the future of energy supply and its relation to climate change. She has featured on a number of public events including a Panel discussing greenhouse gas removal and the associated technologies at the Global Grand Challenge Summit 2019 organized jointly by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In October 2019, Raffaella also featured in a Panel organized by the RSE at the Festival of Politics at the Scottish Parliament debating whether efforts to improve public knowledge of female scientists are working and spoke at a Panel on "Scotland's Energy Future: No Easy Options". The Panel was held as a fringe event organised by the RSE at the SNP Congress in Aberdeen in October 2019. The panel addressed the key themes from the recent RSE inquiry into Scotland's Energy Future and debated how best Scottish energy policy can meet the competing challenges. At HWU, Raffaella is the Head of the Multiphase Multiscale Engineering Modelling (MMEM) research group. Raffaella has worked in a number of highly recognised international Institutions such as the Università di Napoli (Italy); Claude Bérnard Université, Lyon (France); Louisiana State University (USA); Princeton University (USA).

Title: From Fundamentals to Industrial Applications –Opportunities and Challenges 

Abstract: Conversion of biomass poses challenges at each stage of the production chain. Sustainability issues characterise not only the feedstock supply but also the end-use products. Technical challenges might hinder large scale economically viable conversion processes. The talk reviews the most common technologies for biomass conversion and explores some of the research which would be needed to deliver biofuels and chemicals in a sustainable and reliable manner. An example of current research in the area of pyrolysis is presented and its advantages and limitations are discussed.