Dr Sharif Zein

Reader in Biorefinery Processes and Reaction Engineering

Faculty of Science and Engineering

School of Engineering and Computer Science


01482 466753

PI of the Bioref Group / School Priority Research Area (Head of Discipline Group) / Open & Applicants Days coordinator for Chemical Engineering

Dr Zein has more than 15 years of experience and research expertise in harnessing waste from the food supply chain to produce biofuel and biomaterials.

He hopes that his research could hasten public awareness of this major global challenge and improve market uptake of bio-based products.

Dr Zein and his co-researchers have published more than 130 scientific articles, four book chapters and one patent. He has been awarded 31 research grants and is frequently invited to give talks to seminars.


Research Interests

  • The production of biofuels and chemical feedstocks from renewable resources such as lignocellulosic biomass

  • Adapting processes to produce carbons, nanocarbons, fibres and sugars that could have applications as fuels or industrial chemicals

Research groups

  • Bioref Group

  • Biobased Materials and Biofules


Zein S H, Asenso B, Skoulou V K, 'Nanocarbons from acid pretreated waste coffee grounds using microwave radiation 193', Materials Letters, 193, pp 46-49 (2017)

Demirhan H, Fauzi A, Skoulou V K, Haywood S H, Zein S H, 'Wheat Straw Bio-refining. Part I: Optimisation of the Microwave Radiation Process with Sulphuric Acid Pre-treatment', Current Microwave Chemistry, 4:3, pp 205-218 (2017)

Festus O, Skoulou V K, Zein S H, 'Wheat straw bio-refining. Part II: Optimisation of the microwave radiation with sulphuric acid pre-treatment and its enzymatic hydrolysis for fermentable sugars', Current Microwave Chemistry, 4:4, pp 306-316 (2017)

Zhu Z, Haywood S H, Touhami D, Zein S H, Balan W S, Janaun J, 'Characterisation of rice husk-based catalyst prepared via conventional and microwave carbonisation', Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 5:3, pp 2388-2394 (2017)

Lancefield C S, Rashid G M M, Bouxin F, Wasak A, Tu W-C, Hallett J, Zein S H, Rodríguez J, Jackson S D, Westwood N J, Bugg T D H, 'An Investigation of the Chemocatalytic and Biocatalytic Valorisation of a Range of Different Lignin Preparations: the Importance of β-O-4 Content', ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering, 4, pp 6921−6930 (2016)

Full list


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Chemical Reaction Engineering

  • Petroleum and Petrochemical Engineering

Research PhDs

Dr Zein welcomes applications in the area of biofuels and chemical feedstocks from renewable resources, such as from lignocellulosic biomass.

He is also interested in scaling up the basic lab works to processes and bio-based products which can be used in industry.

Current PhD Supervisions 

  • Mohammed Abdulsattar

  • Elis Davies

  • Hassan Alabdrabalameer

Teaching awards and accolades

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Professional highlights

External roles

  • Editorial roles and membership of editorial and advisory boards for journals including Natural Science, Walailak Journal of Science and Technology, Journal of Applied Sciences, Trends in Applied Sciences Research, Research Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Current Research in Chemistry, International Journal of Chemical Technology, and the Malaysian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences (MJFAS)

  • Grant assessor for the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) – Newton Prize, the Qatar National Research Fund (QRNF), and the King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Awards and accolades

Received more than 50 awards nationally and internationally, including special awards and gold medals, for studies, research, and excellence in teaching.

  • Awarded a Gold Medal by the Industrial Art and Technology Exhibition (INATEX’99) at the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) for his MSc project, 'Modified HZSM-5 Zeolites Catalysts for The Single Step Conversion of Methane to Gasoline' (1999)

  • Received an award from the Malaysia Solid State Science and Technology Society (MASS) for his PhD project, A Novel Process for the Production of Carbon Nanotubes from Natural Gas (2003)

  • Awarded a Gold Medal by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in Malaysia for his PhD project, Single Step Production of Carbon Nanotubes and Hydrogen from Natural Gas (2004)

  • Awarded a Gold Medal for the project 'Production of Carbon Nanotubes and Hydrogen' at the 33rd International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in Geneva, Switzerland. At the same exhibition, received a special prize in the field of carbon nanotubes from the Technical Culture-Croatia (2005)

  • Awarded 'Excellent Scientist' by the Ministry of Higher Education in Malaysia (2005)

  • Awarded the University Hall of Fame Reward by the University of Science Malaysia (USM) nine times, and the Merit Reward 17 times since 2004

  • Awarded a Gold Medal and The World Invention Award for the project, 'Development of New Synthetic Composite for Injectable Bone Replacement Material', at the British Inventors Society's British Invention Show at Alexandra Palace, London (2009)