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About me

I am an Associate Professor in Bio and Circular Economy. Meanwhile, I am holding Academy Research Fellowship from Research Council of Finland. Currently, I am acting as Chairman of Finnish Thermal Energy Research Association (FTERA), university member of the International Water Association, Editor in Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering (Elsevier), Social Media Editor in Separation and Purification Technology (Elsevier), editorial board member in Waste (MDPI). My research group focuses on circular economy innovation by developing low-carbon clean technologies for waste management and carbon-neutrality based on multidisciplinary sciences in environmental and energy engineering, thermochemical and physicochemical processes, chemical reaction engineering, materials design and applied catalysis. I have been exploring energy-efficient processes, technologies, and catalysts for energy conversion and nutrients recycling of sewage sludge, sustainable disposal of municipal solid wastes, bio-refinery of biomass wastes, and technology-critical elements recovery from hyperaccumulators in terms of fundamental sciences, key reaction processes, industrial applications and commercialization. I have made innovative contributions to sewage sludge treatment pertaining to cleaner energy production, nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) recovery, stabilization of heavy metals. Dr. He was awarded 2015 Applied Energy Award and listed in 2023 World's Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University.


Conducting and leading research, teaching and supervision of thesis

Fields of expertise

  • Urban solid waste management
  • Resource recovery from waste streams
  • Renewable energy production from wastewater and biomass wastes

Top achievements

  • 2023 World's Top 2% Scientists (list source: Stanford University)
  • Academy Research Fellow, Research Council of Finland, 2021 to 2026
  • ESI highly cited paper in eight consecutive years (Years 2015 to 2022)
  • 2015 Applied Energy Award (Applied Energy, Elsevier)
  • Co-founder of a Singapore spin-off start-up company in environmental and energy technologies
  • 2014 TOP 5 Poster Award in NTU Research Open House
  • 2013 Best Poster Award, Bioenergy and Biorefinery Conference-Southeast Asia 2013 Biobased Fuels and Chemicals, Singapore

Mission statement

Developing low-carbon clean technologies for Sustainable Waste Management and Bio-refinery towards Circular Economy and Carbon Neutrality based on multidisciplinary sciences.

Research topics

  • Thermochemical conversion of organic solid wastes into value-added materials, chemicals and renewable biofuels
  • Catalysts and materials design and development for efficient environment applications and green chemistry

Research unit

Bio and Circular Economy

Research fields

sewage sludge management, resource recycling, biomass waste to energy and materials, circular economy, thermochemical conversion, catalytic processing, wastewater purification, hazardous waste treatment

Selected publications

  • Huang, W., Zhang, R., Giannis, A., Li, C., He, C.* (2023), "Sequential hydrothermal carbonization and CO2 gasification of sewage sludge for improved syngas production with mitigated emissions of NOx precursors", Chemical Engineering Journal, 454, 140239.
  • Kaim, V., Rintala, J., He, C.* (2023), "Selective recovery of rare earth elements from e-waste via ionic liquid extraction: A review", Separation and Purification Technology, 306, 122699.
  • Xie, C., Xiao, Y., He, C., Liu, W.-S., Tang, Y.-T., Wang, S., van der Ent, A., Morel, J.L., Simonnot, M.-O., Qiu, R.-L. (2023), "Selective recovery of rare earth elements and value-added chemicals from the Dicranopteris linearis bio-ore produced by agromining using green fractionation", Journal of Hazardous Materials, 443, 130253.
  • Goel A., Moghaddam E. M., Liu W., He C.*, Konttinen J. (2022), “Biomass chemical looping gasification for high-quality syngas: A critical review and technological outlooks”, Energy Conversion and Management, 268, 116020.
  • He C.*, Tang C., Oh W-D. (2022), “Reinforced degradation of ibuprofen with MnCo2O4/FCNTs nanocatalyst as peroxymonosulfate activator: Performance and mechanism”, Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 10, 107874.
  • He C.*, Zhang Z., Xie C., Giannis A., Chen Z., Tang Y., Qiu R. (2021), “Transformation behaviors and environmental risk assessment of heavy metals during resource recovery from Sedum plumbizincicola via hydrothermal liquefaction”, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 410, 124588.
  • Dai L., Wang Y., Liu Y., He C.*, Ruan R., Yu Z., Jiang L., Zeng Z., Wu Q. (2020), “A review on selective production of value-added chemicals via catalytic pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass”, Science of The Total Environment, 749. 
  • Ma D., Liang L., Hu E., Chen H., Wang D., He C.*, Feng, Q.* (2020), “Dechlorination of Polyvinyl Chloride by Hydrothermal Treatment with Cupric Ion”, Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 146, 108-117.
  • He C.*, Lin H., Dai L., Qiu R., Tang Y., Wang Y., Ok Y. (2020), “Waste shrimp shell-derived hydrochar as an emergent material for methyl orange removal in aqueous solutions”, Environment International, 134.
  • He C.*, Tang C., Liu W., Dai L., Qiu R. (2020), “Co-pyrolysis of sewage sludge and hydrochar with coals: Pyrolytic behaviors and kinetics analysis using TG-FTIR and a discrete distributed activation energy model”, Energy Conversion and Management, 203. 
  • Oh W., Wong Z., Chen X., Lin, K., Veksha A., Lisak G., He C., Lim T. (2020), “Enhanced activation of peroxydisulfate by CuO decorated on hexagonal boron nitride for bisphenol A removal”, Chemical Engineering Journal, 393.
  • Nguyen Q., Nguyen D., He C., Bach Q. (2020), “Isothermal torrefaction kinetics for sewage sludge pretreatment”, Fuel, 277.
  • He C.*, Zhang Z., Ge C., Liu W., Tang Y., Zhuang X., Qiu R. (2019), “Synergistic effect of hydrothermal co-carbonization of sewage sludge with fruit and agricultural wastes on hydrochar fuel quality and combustion behavior”, Waste Management, 100, 171-181.
  • Tang C., Li Y., He C.*, Acharya K. (2019), “Dynamic behavior of sediment resuspension and nutrients release in the shallow and wind-exposed Meiliang Bay of Lake Taihu”, Science of The Total Environment, 708.
  • Dai L., Wang Y., Liu Y., Ruan R., He C., Yu Z., Jiang L., Zeng Z., Tian X. (2019), “Integrated process of lignocellulosic biomass torrefaction and pyrolysis for upgrading bio-oil production”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 107, 20-36. (ESI highly cited paper)
  • Zhuang, X., Zhan, H., Song, Y., He, C., Huang, Y., Yin, X., Wu, C. (2019), “Insights into the evolution of chemical structures in lignocellulose and non-lignocellulose biowastes during hydrothermal carbonization (HTC)”, Fuel, 236, 960-974. (ESI highly cited paper)
  • He, C.*, Tang, C., Li C., Yuan J., Tran K., Bach Q., Qiu R., Yang Y. (2018), “Wet torrefaction of biomass for high quality solid fuel production: A review”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 91, 259-271.
  • Dai, L., He, C., Wang, Y., Liu, Y., Yu, Z., Zhou, Y., Fan, L., Duan, D., Ruan, R. (2017), “Comparative study on microwave and conventional hydrothermal pretreatment of bamboo sawdust: Hydrochar properties and its pyrolysis behaviors”, Energy Conversion and Management, 146, 1-7.
  • Xiao, K., Chen, Y., Jiang, X., He, C., Yin, Y., Zhou, Y. (2017), “Comparison of different treatment methods for protein solubilisation from waste activated sludge”, Water Research, 122, 492-502.
  • He, C.*, Zhao, J., Yang, Y.H., Wang, J.-Y. (2016), “Multiscale characteristics dynamics of hydrochar from hydrothermal conversion of sewage sludge under sub- and near-critical water”, Bioresource Technology, 211, 486-493.
  • Zhao, J., Zhou, C., He, C., Dai, Y., Jia, X., Yang, Y. (2016), “Efficient dehydration of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural over sulfonated carbon sphere solid acid catalysts”, Catalysis Today, 264, 123–130.
  • He, C.*, Wang, K., Yang, Y.H., Amaniampong, P., Wang, J.-Y. (2015), “Effective nitrogen removal and recovery from sewage sludge using a novel integrated system of accelerated hydrothermal deamination and air stripping”, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (11), 6872-6880.
  • He, C., Zheng, J.W., Wang, K., Lin, H.Q., Wang, J.-Y., Yang, Y.H. (2015), “Sorption enhanced aqueous phase reforming of glycerol for hydrogen production over Pt-Ni supported on multi-walled carbon nanotubes”, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 162, 401-411.
  • He, C.*, Chen, C.-L., Giannis A., Yang, Y.H., Wang, J.-Y. (2014), “Hydrothermal gasification of sewage sludge and model compounds for renewable hydrogen production: A review”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 39, 1127-1142.
  • He, C.*, Wang, K., Yang, Y.H., Wang, J.-Y. (2014), “Utilization of sewage-sludge-derived hydrochars toward efficient cocombustion with different-rank coals: effects of subcritical water conversion and blending scenarios”, Energy & Fuels, 28(9), 6140-6150.
  • He, C.*, Giannis, A., Wang, J.-Y. (2013), “Conversion of sewage sludge to clean solid fuel using hydrothermal carbonization: Hydrochar fuel characteristics and combustion behavior”, Applied Energy. 111, 257-266. (ESI highly cited paper)
  • Zhu, W., Xu, Z.R., Li, L., He, C. (2011), “The behavior of phosphorus in sub- and super-critical water gasification of sewage sludge”, Chemical Engineering Journal, 171(1), 190-196.