Shilpa Agarwal

Biorefinery vision expression

 Picture of Shilpa

Tel: +31-53-489 6463


The biorefinery concept promises to provide a sustainable alternate route, replacing petroleum, for the provision of energy and platform chemicals. In many biomass processing schemes the intermediate product stream is rich in oxygenated compounds, including alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and phenolics, amongst others. These oxygenates can be upgraded to valuable intermediates (for fuels, lubricants and the fine chemical industry) through aldol condensation, which is a powerful C-C coupling reaction that increases the carbon-to-oxygen ratio and increases the carbon chain length, leading to easier product separation and reducing the processing costs. Aldol condensation requires acidic, basic, or amphoteric catalyst sites in order to proceed. The development of solid catalyst, that is stable in water and display high catalytic activity/product selectivity is currently a major challenge. My research goal is to deliver an atomic-level understanding of structure-performance of solid catalyst in water to serve as a science base for improvement of the performance by investigating its catalytic properties, including acidity/basicity, redox nature, and defect density in water. My research addresses this urgency, as well as having the potential to improve economic viability within the biorefinery vision.

Career path

07/2016 - present Postdoctoral fellow
With Prof. dr. ir. L. Lefferts, University of Twente, UT (The Netherlands)

06/2014 - 05/2016 Postdoctoral fellow
With Prof. dr. ir. H. J. Heeres, University of Groningen, RUG (The Netherlands)

01/2010 - 04/2014 Ph.D. in Catalytic Processes and Materials
University of Twente, UT (The Netherlands)

08/2007 - 10/2009 Joint European Master in Advanced Materials Science and Engineering (AMASE)
Luleå University of Technology, LTU (Sweden)
Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, INPL (France)

08/2007 - 12/2009 Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
Luleå University of Technology, LTU (Sweden)

08/2004 - 07/2007 Bachelor of Science in Industrial Chemistry
Aligarh Muslim University, AMU (India)

Scientific Contributions