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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis in Energy Technology

Niloufar Sadat Ghavami Masouleh.
Niloufar Sadat Ghavami Masouleh

M.Sc. (Tech.) Niloufar Sadat Ghavami Masouleh’s doctoral thesis in Energy Technology will be put forth for public defence at Faculty of Science and Engineering at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled Advances in Process Integration Studies for Novel Biorefinery Concepts and Biofuel Production for Sustainability Transformation.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 3 May 2024 at 1.15 PM in Auditorium Bruhn, Academill, Rantakatu 2, Vaasa. Assistant Professor Mauro Prestipino, Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy, will serve as opponent and Associate Professor Cataldo De Blasio, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


Within the framework of circular bioeconomy, process integration involves incorporating a valorization process into existing waste-generating sectors. Waste related to population growth and human activities presents challenges due to its high volume and dilution. Hydrothermal processes are well-suited for such waste streams, yet there’s a research gap in effectively processing these wet biomass feedstocks, underscoring the need for innovation.

The primary objective of the research project is to contribute to sustainability by exploring economically and technologically feasible processes for biorefineries.

The aim is to develop biorefinery integration concepts to enhance energy and resource recovery from waste streams, promoting circularity. Hydrothermal processes, utilizing water as a reaction medium and bypassing energy-intensive drying or evaporation steps, are most effective for processing high-volume dilute aqueous wastes. Case studies involved integrating hydrothermal processes with biogas plants.

Biorefinery concepts should align with desired products or recovery needs and the specific biomass waste. Novel concepts can address operational aspects by effectively combining hydrothermal processes. Research on operational aspects like supercritical water gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction emphasized safety, long-term operational issues, and economic performance, with proposed solutions focusing on minimizing these challenges. Additionally, new process integration concepts were proposed to enhance economic performance and mineral/nutrient recovery. Examples include hydrothermal carbonization of digestate followed by supercritical water gasification, integrated with biogas plants, and hydrothermal liquefaction of sewage sludge, combined with hydrothermal carbonization of digestate and supercritical water gasification of aqueous effluents.

Niloufar Sadat Ghavami Masouleh was born in 1988 in Iran. She can be reached by email niloufar.ghavami@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.