Hanwu Lei

Hanwu Lei

Hanwu Lei, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Scientist

Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Washington State University, Tri-Cities Campus
Richland, WA 99354-1670
Email: hlei@tricity.wsu.edu
Tel: 509-372-7628
Fax: 509-372-7690

Dr. Hanwu Lei is an associate professor and graduate faculty at Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Bioproducts, Science, and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University. He received his Ph.D. in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering from University of Minnesota at Twin-Cities in 2006, his M.S. in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering from University of Minnesota in 2003, and his B.S. in Grain Engineering from Wuxi University of Light Industry in China in 1992. Prior to his arrival at WSU, Dr. Lei was an assistant professor and bioprocess engineer and graduate faculty of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University (SDSU), and before joining the faculty at SDSU in 2007, he worked at University of Minnesota as a research associate and process engineer in 2006-2007.

Dr. Lei has worked for more than fifteen years in novel approaches for renewable energy and value added process development for agricultural feedstocks and products.  Dr. Lei’s research interests include biomass thermochemical conversions (torrefaction, pyrolysis, liquefaction, aqueous phase reforming, catalytic processes, and bio-oil upgrading) to produce aromatics, phenols, hydrocarbons, hydrogen, syngas, jet fuel, biofuels, bioproducts, and use of biochar as a form of carbon sequestration on the impact of fuels process and environment. Dr. Lei’s research activities also include biomass pretreatment for biological or chemical conversion to renewable energy and bioproducts, especially working on hydrothermal pretreatment and organosolv clean fractionation processes.

Dr. Lei’s research involves design and development of processing technology, optimization of processes, reaction kinetics, and process modeling, and value added product development. Together with his team and collaborators, he is working on a number of exciting research projects. Dr. Lei is the author and co-author of over 120 peer reviewed journal articles and papers at national and international conferences. He has 13 US patent applications and invention disclosures. Dr. Lei is the DOE and USDA federal programs’ grant proposal reviewer/panelist.

Graduated PhD (6) from Dr. Lei’s Group:

  • Yi Wei, PhD, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU (Research Assistant from Aug. 2011-Aug. 2015); PhD dissertation: Advanced upgrading of pyrolysis oil via liquid-liquid extraction and catalytically upgrading (Graduated Spring 2015)
  • Quan Bu, PhD, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU (Research Assistant from Aug. 2010-Aug. 2013; Now Associate Professor at Jiangsu University); PhD dissertation: Catalytic microwave pyrolysis of biomass for renewable phenols and fuels (Graduated Summer 2013).
  • Lu Wang, PhD, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU (Research Assistant from Aug. 2010-Aug. 2013; Now post-doc at Washington State University); PhD dissertation: Aromatic hydrocarbons production from catalyst assisted microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir sawdust pellet (Graduated Summer 2013).
  • Shoujie Ren, PhD, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU (Research Assistant from Jan. 2010-Dec. 2012; Now post-doc at University of Tennessee); PhD dissertation: Catalytic microwave torrefaction and pyrolysis of Douglas fir pellet to improve biofuel quality (Graduated Fall 2012).
  • Iwona Cybulska, PhD, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, SDSU (Research Assistant from Jan. 2008-May. 2012; Now post-doc at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology); PhD dissertation: Pretreatment methods for lignocellulosic materials employed to produce fuel ethanol and value-added products (Graduated Spring 2012).
  • Rui Zhou, PhD, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, SDSU (Research Assistant from Jan. 2008-Dec. 2014); PhD dissertation: Microwave pyrolysis of biomass and kinetics (Graduated Spring 2015).

 Graduated MS (2) from Dr. Lei’s Group:

  • Gayatri Yadavalli, MS student, Environmental Engineering, WSU (Aug. 2013-Dec. 2014; Post-MS research Associate at WSU); MS dissertation: activated carbon surface modification for carbon dioxide adsorption (Graduated Fall 2014)
  • Jing Liang, MS, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU (Research Assistant from Aug. 2011-Aug. 2013; Now PhD student at University of California, Riverside); MS project title: Tech-economic analysis of microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir pellet (Graduated Summer 2013)

Post-Doc Research Associate:

  • Lu Wang, PhD. Working on catalysis for jet fuels

 Current Post-MS Research Associate:

  • Di Yan, MS. Working on microwave pyrolysis
  • Gayatri Yadavalli, MS. Working on microwave pyrolysis, CO2removal, protein extraction

 Current Graduate Students:

  • Lei Zhu, PhD Research Assistant, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU; PhD dissertation: Development of processes and catalysts for aviation biofuels production (in progress)
  • Xuesong Zhang, PhD Research Assistant, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU; PhD dissertation: Upgrading bio-oils from Douglas fir pellets with packed-bed catalysis over catalysts coupled with microwave-assisted pyrolysis (in progress)
  • Charles Shaw, PhD Research Assistant, Environmental Science, WSU, PhD thesis: Life-cycle-analysis, microwave pyrolysis, hybrid poplar, and bio-char (in progress)
  • Yupeng Liu, MS Research Assistant, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, WSU; MS thesis: Torrefaction of Douglas fir pellets and its upgrading (in progress)

 Selected Dr. Lei’s Awards and Professional Services:

  • Early Career Award, Association of Overseas Chinese Agricultural, Biological, and Food Engineers (AOCABFE), July 2014. The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding career achievement by a young AOC member in the profession of Agricultural, Biological and Food Engineering. The award is to honor achievement through education, research, innovation, development, extension, consulting, administration, international collaboration, and other professional activities
  • Certificate of Reviewing, Elsevier Reviewer Recognition, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015
  • Certificate of Appreciation for valuable contribution and dedicated service in the peer review of manuscripts submitted to ACS journals, Journals Publishing Group, American Chemical Society, 2012
  • Division Editor, Division of Renewable Energy System, International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, since 2008
  • Associate Editor, Division of Agro-Product and Food Processing Engineering, International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, since 2008
  • Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (IJABE), since 2008
  • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems (JSBS), since 2012
  • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Global Ecology and Environment (JGEE), since 2015

 Selected Dr. Lei’s Student Awards and Honors:

  • Graduate Studies Achievement Award: PhD student Lei Zhu (Aug. 2012-Aug. 2016), under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won 2014 WSU BSYSE Outstanding Graduate Student Award – Alfred and Genevieve Gallucci Scholarship of $500, May 2014;
  • Graduate Studies Achievement Award: PhD student Quan Bu (Aug. 2010-Aug. 2013), under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won WSU BSysE Graduate Studies Achievement Award – Alfred and Genevieve Gallucci Scholarship of $1000, May 2013.
  • Paper Award: PhD student Lu Wang (Aug. 2010-Aug. 2013), under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei (co-author), won Second Place Paper Award of “Catalytic upgrading of Douglas fir sawdust pellet vapors over Zn/ZSM-5 catalysts in a packed-bed catalysis reactor”. Paper No. 1594800. AOC Paper Competition of ASABE Annual International Meeting, Kansas City, Missouri in July 2013
  • Paper Award: PhD student Shoujie Ren (Jan. 2010-Dec. 2012), under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei (co-author), won Third Place Paper Award of “Optimum conditions and characteristics of products from microwave torrefaction of Douglas fir sawdust pellet “. Paper No. 121337334. AOC Paper Competition of ASABE Annual International Meeting, Dallas, Texas in July 2012
  • Travel Award: PhD student Yi Wei, under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won a travel award of about $2,858 from WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering to attend the 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International Conference to be held at Montreal, QC Canada in July 2014. Yi will make an oral presentation titled “Advanced upgrading of pyrolysis bio-oil via liquid-liquid extraction and esterification by zeolite catalysis” at the conference.
  • Travel Award: PhD student Xuesong Zhang, under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won a travel award of about $2,858 from WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering to attend the 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International Conference to be held at Montreal, QC Canada in July 2014. Xuesong will make an oral presentation titled “Upgraded bio-oil from packed-bed catalysis over Ni/HZSM-5 with the addition of ethanol vapor coupled with microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir pellets” at the conference.
  • Travel Award: PhD student Lei Zhu, under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won a travel award of about $2,858 from WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering to attend the 2014 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International Conference to be held at Montreal, QC Canada in July 2014. Lei will make an oral presentation titled “Characterization of Surface Functional Groups in Corn Stover Biochar Derived from Microwave-assisted Pyrolysis” at the conference.
  • National Science Foundation Travel Award: PhD student Shoujie Ren (Jan. 2010-Dec. 2012), under the supervision of Dr. H. Lei, won a travel award of $447 from University of Florida (UF) travel office through the National Science Foundation to attend the ASME 2011 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC) to be held at the Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR in June 2011. Shoujie made an oral presentation titled “Microwave torrefaction of corn stover and tech-economic analysis” at the conference.

 Selected Publications (* indicates corresponding author):

X. Zhang, H. Lei**, G. Yadavalli, L. Zhu, Y. Wei, Y. Liu. 2015. Gasoline-range Hydrocarbons produced        from Microwave-induced Pyrolysis of Low-Density Polyethylene over ZSM-5. Fuel, 144: 33-42. doi:         10.1016/j.fuel.2014.12.013.

Q. Bu, H. Lei**, L. Wang, G. Yadavalli, Y. Wei, X. Zhang, L. Zhu, Y. Liu. 2015. Biofuel production from        catalytic microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir pellets over ferrum-modified carbon catalyst. Journal of      Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 112: 74-79. doi: 10.1016/j.jaap.2015.02.019.

L. Wang, H. Lei**, Q. Bu, L. Zhu, Y. Wei, X. Zhang, Y. Liu, G. Yadavalli, J. Lee, S. Chen, and J. Tang.         2014.  Aromatic hydrocarbons production from ex-situ catalysis of pyrolysis vapor over Zinc modified     ZSM-5 in a packed-bed catalysis coupled with microwave pyrolysis reactor. Fuel, 129C, 78-85. doi:           10.1016/j.fuel.2014.03.052.

Q. Bu, H. Lei**, L. Wang, Y. Wei, L. Zhu, X. Zhang, Y. Liu, G. Yadavalli and J. Tang. 2014. Bio-based          phenols and fuel production from catalytic microwave pyrolysis of lignin by activated carbons.                  Bioresource Technology, 162C, 142-147. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.03.103.

S. Ren, H. Lei**, L. Wang, G. Yadavalli, Y. Liu, J. Julson. 2014. The integrated process of microwave         torrefaction and pyrolysis of corn stover for biofuel production. Journal of Analytic and Applied               Pyrolysis, 108: 248-253. doi: 10.1016/j.jaap.2014.04.008.

Invited Peer-Reviewed Journal Paper: Y. Wei, H. Lei**, Y. Liu, L. Wang, L. Zhu, X. Zhang, G.                Yadavalli, B. Ahring, S. Chen. 2014. Renewable hydrogen produced from different renewable                    feedstocks by aqueous-phase reforming process. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 4(2):            113-127. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2014.42011.

S. Ren, H. Lei**, L. Wang, Q. Bu, S. Chen, J. Wu. 2014. Hydrocarbons and hydrogen-rich syngas                   production by biomass catalytic pyrolysis and bio-oil upgrading over biochar catalysts. RSC                       Advances, 4 (21), 10731 – 10737. doi: 10.1039/c4ra00122b.

Q. Wang, H. Lei, L. Jiang, Q. Wen, W. Bai. Y. Zhong*. 2013. Optimization and evaluation of                           microencapsulation of star anise oleoresin. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation.                         doi:10.1111/jfpp.12193.

Y. Wei, H. Lei**, L. Wang, L. Zhu, X. Zhang, Y. Liu, S. Chen, B. Ahring. 2014. Liquid-liquid extraction of    biomass pyrolysis bio-oil. Energy and Fuels, 28(2), 1207-1212. doi: 10.1021/ef402490s.

Invited Peer-Reviewed Journal Paper: H. Lei**, I. Cybulska, J. Julson. Hydrothermal                          pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass and kinetics. Journal of Sustainable Bioenergy Systems, 3(4):    250-259. doi: 10.4236/jsbs.2013.34034.

S. Ren, H. Lei**, L. Wang, Q. Bu, S. Chen, J. Wu. 2013. Thermal behavior and kinetic study for woody        biomass torrefaction and torrefied biomass pyrolysis by TGA. Biosystems Engineering, 116, 4, 420-        426. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystemseng.2013.10.003.

L. Wang, H. Lei**, J. Lee, S. Chen, J. Tang, B. Ahring. 2013. Aromatic hydrocarbons from packed-bed        catalysis coupled with microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir sawdust pellets. RSC Advances, 34, 3,             14609 – 14615. doi: 10.1039/C3RA23104F.

Q. Bu, H. Lei**, L. Wang, Y. Liu, J. Liang, Y. Wei, L. Zhu, and J. Tang. 2013. Renewable phenols                  production by catalytic microwave pyrolysis of Douglas fir sawdust pellets with activated carbon              catalysts. Bioresource Technology, 142: 546-552. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.05.073.

S. Ren, H. Lei**, L. Wang, Q. Bu, S. Chen, J. Wu, J. Julson, and R. Ruan. 2013. The effects of                       torrefaction on compositions of bio-oil and syngas from biomass pyrolysis by microwave heating.             Bioresource Technology, 135, 659-994. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.06.091.

B. Hu, W. Zhou, M. Min, Z. Du, P. Chen, X. Ma, Y. Liu, H. Lei, J. Shi, R.  Ruan*. 2013. Development of      an effective acidogenically digested swine manure-based algal system for improved wastewater                treatment and biofuel and feed production. Applied Energy, 107, 255-263. doi:                                         10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.02.033.

R. Zhou, H. Lei**, J. Julson. 2013. Reaction temperature and time and particle size on switchgrass              microwave pyrolysis and reaction kinetics. Int. J. Agr. Biol. Eng., 6(1): 53-61. dio:                                          10.3965/j.ijabe.20130601.005.

Z. Du, X. Ma, Y. Li, P. Chen, Y. Liu, X. Lin, H. Lei, R. Ruan*. 2013. Production of aromatic                              hydrocarbons by catalytic pyrolysis of microalgae with zeolites: Catalyst screening in a pyroprobe.           Bioresource Technology, 139, 397-401 doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.04.053.

R. Zhou, H. Lei**, J. Julson. 2013. The Effects of pyrolytic conditions on microwave pyrolysis of prairie      cordgrass and kinetics. J. Analytic and Applied Pyrolysis, 101, 172-176. doi:                                                   10.1016/j.jaap.2013.01.013.

Z. Du, B. Hu, X. Ma, Y. Cheng, Y. Liu, X. Lin, Y. Wan, H. Lei, P. Chen, and R. Ruan*. 2013. Catalytic            pyrolysis of microalgae and their three major components: carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.                  Bioresource Technology, 130: 777–782. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.12.115.

I. Cybulska*, G. P. Brudecki, B. R. Hankerson, J. L. Julson, H. Lei. 2013. Catalyzed modified clean              fractionation of switchgrass. Bioresource Technology, 127, 92-99.                                                doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2012.09.131.

Please visit Dr. Hanwu Lei’s research web site for more information.