The Reaction Engineering and Catalysis group (REC) works within several different areas such as catalysis, material science, reactor engineering, renewable energy, modeling, and economics.

About REC

The Reaction Engineering and Catalysis group focuses its research on the upgrading and valorization of waste into new bio-based chemicals and biofuels.

We combine theoretical calculations from DFT with experimental work on catalysis, material science reactor engineering, reactor design, kinetics and modeling. We also work on producing, testing and upscaling our developed technologies. We perform techno economic assessment of the different technological solutions to evaluate their competitivity within the current market.

Our team is growing and our former members are now working for companies and research centers that are well known world wide. Read more below about our projects, our research collaborations, and our members.


  • The Reaction Engineering and Catalysis group has experience on:

    • Material science with foucs on catalysis (development, preparation, characterization)
    • Material science with focus on DFT modeling and calculations, DFT uses for development of new catalysts as well as energy storage materials.
    • Reaction engineering (testing new reactions, developing new processes, design of new equipment and reactors)
    • Kinetics modeling (kinetics mechanism, kinetics rate expresions, heat nad mass trasnfer effects and limitations)
    • Techno economic assessments of process with upscaling and sensitivity.
    • Analytical tools such as GC, GCMS, titration among others.
    • Waste valorization to produce new biobased chemicals and biofuels.
  • Completed projects

    Other funding

  • Logo Hawassa University

    Hawassa University

    We have a cooperation with Hawassa University in Ethiopia for the valorization of jatropha seeds and jatropha oil and their transformation into biofuel and biochemicals using green chemistry. Our cooperation is with Prof. Tesema, Dr. Gebremariam and M.Sc. Keneni.

    We work together in the drying, storage and extraction of oil from different jatropha seeds, form different regions and locations from Ethiopia. Furthermore we studied the transformation of this nonedible oil into biofuel and biochemicals via the use of renewable catalysis. Even more we have carried out techno economic analysis of the process developed and upscale them to see their commerciality and eventually develop proof of concept.


    University of Borås

    We cooperate with University of Borås in Sweden on the upgrade of fungi based biomass as well as thermochemical transformation of household waste, organic waste and forestry waste for the production of fuel, energy and heat.

    We have started with a cooperation for the upgrade of fungi based biomass as well as the the area of Fungai. We have been focusing on the production of fungi-based oil for the production of feed and food purposes as well as fungi-based oil for its transformation into biobased fuels. We have been completing their production work on fungi with our expertise on catalysis, reactor engineering and processing in order to improve the transformation of these raw materials into the desire products. 

    We are establishing a new cooperation within the Thermochemical transformation of household waste, organic waste and forestry waste for the production of fuel, energy and heat.

    Logo UCM

    Universidad Complutense de Madrid

    A cooperation has been established with Professor Aracil and Professor Martinez from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. We have worked together in the transformation of waste and non-edible oils into new biochemicals and biofuels. Our work is based on the preparation, characterization and testing of different catalytic materials as well as reaction engineering design and modeling.

    Our cooperation has been linked to the production of new catalytic materials as well as for the testing of different catalysts for the transformation of waste and non-edible oils into new biobased chemical (organic alcohols of C16 or higher) as well as biofuels (biodiesel, biobutanol). We have been working as well on modeling, (DOE, RSM), kinetics modeling as well as upscaling and techno economic assessments. We have been funded by EEA, NILS mobility grants that have allowed us not only for scientific cooperation but also for students’ exchange. Within that project we have worked on the production of aviation fuel from waste oils.

    Logo UNS

    Universidad Nacional del Sur

    We have established a long-term cooperation with Professor. Dr. Juan from the IFISur, at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. Our cooperation has been on material science with focus on the use of DFT for study of batteries, fuel cell and chemical interactions. A second cooperation has been established for the study of doped carbon nanotubes and graphene.

    We have also a cooperation with Professor Dr. Lopez Corral from the Chemistry Department at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. Our cooperation is on material science with focus on the study of different materials for solar panels as well as on carbon nanotubes for censoring.

    The cooperation established with Dr. Juan and his group has been on the area of material science. We have studied different physic- chemical pheromones such as adsorption, reactivity, diffusion, among others, that are taking place at a molecular level over metallic surfaces, oxides as well as alloys. These studies are crucial within the material science, metallurgy, and heterogeneous catalysts. The study of hydrogen and its interaction over different metallic surfaces (for example) is of great relevance for batteries, fuel cell as well as hydrogen-based cars. We have also studied the interactions of alcohols with alloys in order to study the production of hydrogen via reforming. We have also focused our work on the understanding of the reactivity of short organic acids and alcohols over oxides to produce liquid fuel and biobased chemical’s

    The cooperation with Dr. Lopez Corral is related to the study of carbon nanotubes with the applications to develop new sensors, the study of different materials for their use in solar cells and solar panels in order to improve efficiency. The work is based on DFT calculations and models.

    Dr. Juan and his group can be found at IFISur or at the Universidad Nacional del Sur web page



  • Heidi S. Nygård

    Former PhD student

    Mangesh Avhad

    Mangesh Ramesh Avhad

    Former PhD student

    PhD student Shemelis Nigatu Gebremariam, REALTEK

    Shemelis Nigatu Gebremariam

    Former PhD student

    PhD student Yadessa Gonfa Keneni

    Yadessa Gonfa Keneni

    Former PhD student

    Valeria Verdinelli

    Former Postdoctoral Fellow

    Former guest researchers:

    • Dr. Marcos Sánchez
    • Dr. Marta Serrano
    • Dr. Valeria Orazi
    • Mc.S. Migle Santariate
  • Eager to join our team? Want to do the master work with us? Interested in carrying out a PhD? Thinking of a post-doctoral fellowship to power up your career?

    • For master theses, please contact us here
    • For vacancies (PhD, postdoctoral fellowships) within the group, please check, or search for NMBU REC in
    • Eager to apply for the Marie Curie individual fellowships? Contact us here with your idea and CV.