Xiaotao Bi


Director, UBC Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC)

Office: CHBE 411

Email: tony.bi@ubc.ca

Research Summary

Particle Technology, Fluidization and Multiphase Reactors, Clean and Renewable Energy Systems, Green Engineering and Sustainability, Life Cycle Analysis


University of British Columbia, 1994, Ph.D.

Tsinghua University, China, 1988, M.A.Sc.

Tsinghua University, China, 1985, B.A.Sc.

Research interests + projects

Green Engineering, Clean Energy and Sustainability: 

Green Engineering is the design, commercialization and use of processes and products, which are feasible and economical while minimizing impacts on ecosystems over the full life cycle. Traditional engineering focuses on the technical and economic aspects of a technology.  In contrast, Green Engineering extends our research and development beyond product manufacturing to include the ecological impacts of a process/product or a technology on the renewability and sustainability of the raw materials, the toxicity and health risks of the product use, and the recycleability and degradability at the end of the product use. We are developing environmental systems and life cycle analysis tools to model and evaluate biomass energy systems, including Canadian wood pellets, BC forest residues, animal wastes, agricultural residues and municipal wastes, as well as integrated impact assessments of biomass combustion, gasification, torrefaction and pyrolysis processes. At the same time, we are developing novel thermo-chemical-catalytic technologies to convert biomass residues to bio-fuels, biochar, torrefied pellets and renewable natural gas, with a focus on novel reactor design and catalyst development. Both clean energy and green engineering are key areas of my research and teaching.

Fluidization and Multiphase Reactors: 

Fluidized bed reactors have been widely used in industrial processes for conducting both catalytic and non-catalytic reactions, fuel combustion, particulate drying, powder coating and granulation, electrolysis etc. I started my research career on fluidization in 1985, and have conducted research over many areas, including hydrodynamics, flow patterns and flow regimes, heat transfer, mass transfer, reactor performance testing, modeling and simulation, scaling and scale-up, commercial reactor troubleshooting etc. covering gas-solids, liquid-solids, gas-liquid-solids bubbling, turbulent and circulating fluidized beds. My current fluidization research is focused on electrostatic charging of dielectric particles in gas-solids fluidized beds and novel fluidized bed reactors for biomass thermo-chemical-catalytic conversion.

Awards and honours

BC Bioenergy Sector Award , 2022

CSChE Industrial Design and Practice Award , 2020

PSRI Lectureship Award, AIChE , 2012

Killam Senior Faculty Research Fellowship, UBC , 2011

Scholarly and professional activities + affiliations

Fellow, Canadian Academy of Engineering

Fellow, Engineering Canada

Member, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC)

Member, Canadian Society of Chemical Engineers (CSChE)

Member, American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE)

Director, Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC)

Director, China-Canada Bioenergy Network (C-CBN)

Director, Biorefining Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC)

Full publications link

Selected publications + presentations

H Wang, XT Bi, R Clift, Clean energy strategies and pathways to meet British Columbia’s decarbonization targets. Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 101 (1), 81-96, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1002/cjce.24654

X Ren, MS Ghazani, H Zhu, W Ao, H Zhang, E Moreside, J Zhu, P Yang, N Zhong, XT Bi, Challenges and opportunities in microwave-assisted catalytic pyrolysis of biomass: A review. Applied Energy 315, 118970, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2022.118970

Wang R, Wang Z, Bi XT, Lim CJ, Sokhansanj S, Residence time distribution and solids mixing of sawdust in a horizontal pulsed fluidized bed, Powder Technology, 117006, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.powtec.2021.11.050

Wang H, Zhang S, Bi XT, Clift R, Greenhouse gas emission reduction potential and cost of bioenergy in British Columbia, Canada, Energy Policy 138, 111285, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111285

Mohamed BA, Ellis N, Kim CS, Bi XT, Microwave-assisted catalytic biomass pyrolysis: effects of catalyst mixtures, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 253, 226-234, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2019.04.058