Photo of Paula Helena Blanco Sanchez

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

    Application deadline 3rd January 2021: "2020/21-028 Algae-based biorefinery routes to obtain high-value fuels and chemicals"


    Research activity 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. 

    Upon completion of my B Eng. in Chemical Engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), in 2007, I worked as a chemical engineer in an environmental consultancy. My main activities were carried out on the field at oil refineries (PEMEX, Mexican petroleum). Afterward, I worked on the application and development of chemical products for the paper industry, 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)

    Currently accepting PhD students: "2020/21-028 - Algae-based biorefinery routes to obtain high-value fuels and chemicals" See details on link below


    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:

    CE1002 Design & Build

    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.

    Bioenergy carriers, hydrogen production, hydrogen applications, BECCS (Bioenergy integrated to Carbon Capture).

    Biochar formation, properties, and novel applications.

    Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

    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; Hydrogen

    Administrative Roles


    Fuel & Energy Journal; EPSRC; BBSCR proposals

    CEAC Memberships:

    Chair of CREST - CEAC Retention and Engagement Team

    Chair of 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
    • Biochar


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