Research Fellow

+44 (0) 131 451 3299
  • Room 3.04
    James Nasymth Building
  • School of Engineering & Physical Sciences; Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering - RAs & Students
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Aimaro Sanna
    Roles and responsibilities

    B4.7AA1 Process Industries A – lecturer
    B4.9CACC Separation Processes A & Reactor Engineering- demonstrator


    The main research drive of his research is the development of economical processes for the production of renewable fuels and bio-chemicals. His research group is developing clean catalytic technologies with the aim of converting renewable biomasses (mainly marine biomasses and waste materials) into the wide range of products that are currently derived from petroleum-derived feedstocks.

    His scientific interests include 2 main research areas:

    Bio-fuels research: Clean catalytic technologies, pyrolysis, liquefaction, heterogeneous catalysis, catalysts synthesis and characterisation, hydrotreating and hydrogenation reactions.

    Carbon Capture and Utilisation research: Mineral carbonation technologies, conversion of CO2 to fuels and materials, high temperature CO2 sorbents.

    Selected publications

    Dr Sanna has more than 40 publications, including 23 refereed publications in journals and book chapters and 19 contributions to conference proceedings.

    • Sanna A, Vispute TP, Huber GW (2015), The Hydrogenation and Hydrodeoxyegantion of the Aqueous Fraction of Bio-oil on Supported Ru and Pt Catalysts, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 165, 446–456.
    • Sanna A, Uibu M, Caramanna G, Kuusik R, Maroto-Valer MM (2014), Mineral carbonation for geological storage/Eengineering for carbonation, Chemical Society Reviews, 43, 8049-8080.
    • Sanna A, Ogbuneke KU, Andrésen JM (2012), Upgrading bio-oils obtained from bio-ethanol and bio-diesel production residues into high quality bio-crudes using vis-breaking, Green Chemistry, 14, 2294-2304.
    • Sanna A, Andrésen JM (2012), Bio-oil deoxygenation by catalytic pyrolysis: novel catalysts for the production of bio-fuels and bio-chemicals, ChemSusChem, 5, 10, 1944-1956.
    • Sanna A, Li S, Linforth R, Smart KA, Andrésen JM (2011), Bio-oil and bio-char from low temperature pyrolysis of spent grains using activated alumina, Bioresource Technology, 102, 22, 10695-10703.
    • Vispute TP, Zhang H, Sanna A, Xiao R, Huber GW (2010), Renewable Chemical Commodity Feedstocks from Integrated Catalytic Processing of Pyrolysis Oils, Science, 330, 6008, 1222-1227.

    For a complete list of Dr. Sanna's publications, please go to his research profile portal page.


    Aimaro Sanna has been recently appointed as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering (IMPEE). He did is PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of Nottingham working on catalytic processes towards the conversion of biomass in bio-fuels and bio-chemicals. He then became employed as Research Fellow at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Nottingham (2010-2012) working on clean fossil fuels technologies. Since July 2012, he is working at the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, on clean fossil fuels technologies and on the development of new generation catalytic systems for understanding and controlling the chemical transformation of biomass-derived oxygenates to fuels and chemicals.

    Further information

    Professional memberships: RSC, IChemE, EI
    Other activities: Managing Editor, Fuel Processing Technology, Elsevier