School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Dr Fernando Russo Abegao




Newcastle Teaching Award (2017)

PhD (2011) University of Cambridge, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Thesis: Magnetic Resonance Studies of Temperature and Chemical Composition in Trickle Bed Reactors

Licenciatura in Chemical Engineering (2006) University of Coimbra, Portugal


Previous Positions:

Process Development Engineer, Johnson Matthey Plc.

Senior Scientist, Johnson Matthey Plc.

Research Scientist, Johnson Matthey Plc.



Institution of Chemical Engineers -Associated Member (AMIChemE)

Royal Society of Chemistry - Member (MRSC)

Society of Chemical Industry

Higher Education Academy - Fellow (FHEA, UKPSF D2)

Roles and Responsibilities:

Academic Lead for the Electronic Assessment and Feedback Steering Group

Stage 1 Tutor for Chemical Engineering Degrees

International Tutor for Stage 1 Students in all Engineering Degrees

TEF Coordinator for Chemical Engineering


Undergraduate Teaching Modules

Chemical Engineering - Stage 1:

CME1025 - Principles of Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering - Stage 2:

CME2023 - Transfer Processes 2

Chemical Engineering - Stage 3:

CME3039 - Plant Design

Chemical Engineering - Stage 4:

CME8117 - MEng Research Project

Previously Taught

Chemical Engineering - Stage 2:

CME2030 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory I

Chemical Engineering - Stage 3:

CME3040 - Chemical Engineering Laboratory II

MSc in Sustainable Chemical Engineering and MSc in Clean Technology:

CME8011- Basic Chemical Engineering


I am a member of the Process Intensification Group and my research focus on heterogeneous catalysis and reaction engineering. My main interest is gaining a fundamental understanding of the synthesis processes for catalytic materials and how to translate that into optimal catalyst activity and more efficient catalyst manufacturing processes. As application and case study areas, I work on:

1) Chemical upgrade of biomass into biorenewable chemicals and fuels;

2) Carbon dioxide conversion into materials and fuels;

3) Intensified synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts;

4) Photocatalysis.

Previously, I did build up an extensive background in industrial catalysis. I have worked at Johnson Matthey as a Senior Research Scientist and Process Development Engineer. During that time I investigated catalyst manufacturing processes and I helped to develop a new generation of manufacturing methods. I also developed and designed Platinum Group Metal catalysts for several chemical, petrochemical and biorenewable applications.

During my PhD at the University of Cambridge, I developed Magnetic Resonance techniques for non-invasive tomography imaging and spectroscopic measurements of chemical composition and temperature in catalytic reactors. These techniques were then employed in operando studies to investigate interactions between hydrodynamics, heat and mass transport, and chemical reactions at industrially relevant hydrodynamic conditions of operation. Hot-stops formation was investigated and, for the first time, liquid-solid mass transfer coefficients were measured by direct quantification of the intra- and inter-particle liquid composition.

I am also a member of the Pedagogical Research in Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials group, with a special interest in assessment, feedback and technology enhanced learning.

Research and Consultancy Topics:



Biorenewable Chemicals

Green Chemistry

Heterogeneous Catalysis

Materials Characterisation

Measurement Methods

Process Intensification

Process Scale-Up

Reaction Engineering

Solids Handling and Processing


Synthesis of heterogeneous catalysts

Current Projects:

BioSPRINT - Biorefining of Sugars via Process Intensification - EU H2020 BioBased Industries

CHARMING - European Training Network for Chemical Engineering Immersive Learning - EU H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie

Development of a Physical Computing Higher Education Toolbox for Engineering and Science Students - Project Funded by the ULTSEC Strategic Innovation Fund.

Past Projects:

Conversion of Biomass into Superior Electrode Materials for Energy Storage Applications - Project funded by the International Partnership Fund.

Process Intensification of Biodiesel Production from Microalgae - SHARE sandpit award funded by the SuperGen Bioenergy Hub.

Integrated Process for Conversion of CO2 into Value-added Product, and Simultaneous Production of Biodiesel without Waste Glycerol by-product - Project funded by the Institute for Sustainability.

A Novel Approach Combining High-Throughput and Modelling Methods for Accelerated Rational Catalyst Development with Application to Conversion of Biomass Waste into Biorenewable Fuels and Chemicals - Project funded by the Institute for Sustainability.

Improving Teaching Effectiveness in Chemical Engineering Education.