Photo of Paula Helena Blanco Sanchez
    • School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    • The Trianlge, Aston University, MB184-b

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Ph.D. STUDENTSHIP: "Upgrading lignocellulose waste biomass using thermochemical and biological conversion routes". (Send email for informal inquiries: UK/EU applicants only)


    Research output per year

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    Personal profile


    Since September 2017, I am a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Aston University in the Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry department (CEAC). My research focuses on biomass conversion into high-value products and biorefineries.

    In 2014, I completed my PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering (Research Excellence) at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. During my PhD, I worked under the supervision of Professor Paul T. Williams, on the synthesis and characterization of metal-based catalysts, to be used during catalytic steam reforming processing of refuse-derived fuel to yield a hydrogen-rich gas or syngas.

    During my Ph.D., I was awarded a World University Network Scholarship to visit the University of Sydney in Australia, working in catalysts preparation. I also was awarded a grant from the KHT Royal Institute of Technology/Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge (BRISK), to carry out experiments at the ECN in Petten, Netherlands as part of the BRISK initiative. I also received funding twice from the Leeds for Life Foundation, to present results from my research at International Conferences in Portugal and Denmark. I have more than 10 Journal publications related to biomass conversion, hydrogen production from solid wastes, and I participated in a project supported by the White Rose Collaboration Fund. I am also a registered Ambassador of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Network (STEMNET) in the UK. 

    Previously in 2007, I completed my B Eng. in Chemical Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Then I worked as a chemical engineer in an environmental consultancy in collaboration with the oil industry in Mexico for one year, at the Engineering Tower. Afterward, I worked on the application and development of chemical products for the paper industry, for example using specialised chemicals to avoid the formation of microorganisms during the paper-making process. 


    PhD Supervision

    Miss Sarah Asplin: Thermal conversion of inedible vegetable oil into aromatics (2nd year)

    NEW Ph.D. STUDENTSHIP: "Upgrading lignocellulose waste biomass using thermochemical and biological conversion routes". (Send email for informal inquiries UK/EU applicants only)

    Find more details here:


    2010-2014 PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering (Research Excellence), University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

    2002-2007 BEng in Chemical Engineering (8.5/10), National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico.

    Higher Education:

    Fellow of the Higher Education, UK.

    Teaching Activity

    Module Owner:



    Module contributor:


    Module Contributor:

    CE3003 Final Year Design Project

    CE4011 MEng Research Project

    Research Interests

    Homogeneous & Heterogeneous Catalysts: synthesis, development, and characterisation for gas-solid, liquid-liquid, and solid-liquid reactions.

    Biomass thermal conversion: pyrolysis, gasification, pyrolysis/gasification.

    Design reactors for gasification: Circulating fluidised bed, fluidised bed, fixed-bed.

    Upgrading of biomass conversion products to obtain high-value fuels and chemicals.

    KEYWORDS: Biomass pyrolysis and gasification, Tar formation, sampling, analysis and reduction in thermal processes; Biorefineries; lignocellulosic materials; Acid catalysts; Hydrolysis; Anhydrosugars; Biofuels; Bioethanol

    Administrative Roles

    REVIEWER: Fuel & Energy Journal

    CEAC Memberships:

    CREST - CEAC Retention and Engagement Team

    WAC - CEAC Walls and Corridors

    EAS Memberships:

    EAS Well-being team

    ECR Forum

    Other activities:


    Contact Details

    Phone number: +44 (0)121 204 4399
    Room Number: MB184-B 

    Education/Academic qualification

    PhD, University of Leeds

    18 Oct 201022 Dec 2014

    Award Date: 22 Dec 2014


    1 Sep 200223 Feb 2007

    Award Date: 23 Feb 2007


    • Q Science (General)
    • Chemical engineering
    • Bioenergy
    • Gasification
    • Biomass
    • Hydrogen
    • Tar reduction
    • Bio-oil upgrading

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    Research Output

    • 8 Article
    • 1 Chapter
    • 1 Conference publication
    • 1 Chapter (peer-reviewed)
    Open Access
  • Production of glucose from the acid hydrolysis of anhydrosugars

    Blanco, P. H., Lad, J., Bridgwater, A. V. & Holm, M. S., 1 Oct 2018, In : ACS Sustainable Chemistry Engineering. 6, 10, p. 12872–12883

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Reaction Chemistry and Kinetics of Corn Stalk Pyrolysis without and with Ga/HZSM-5

    Huang, B., Xie, X., Yang, Y., Rahman, M. M., Zhang, X., Yu, X., Blanco Sanchez, P. H., Dong, Z., Zhang, Y., Bridgwater, A. V. & Cai, J., 7 Dec 2018, In : Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • The impact of biomass feedstock composition and pre-treatments on tar formation during biomass gasification

    Corton, J., Blanco Sanchez, P., Khan, Z., McCalmont, J. P., Yu, X., Fletcher, G., Croxton, S., Sharp, J., Watson, I. & Donnison, I. S., 17 Jan 2017, Biofeedstocks and their processing. Kumar Singh, L. & Chaudhar, G. (eds.). Vol. 1. p. 33-53 21 p. (Advances in Biofeedstocks and Biofuels; vol. 1).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Activities

    • 1 Invited talk

    The Energy Solutions Show or TESS19

    Paula Helena Blanco Sanchez (Speaker)

    5 Jun 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk