Dr Valerie Dupont


My research is focussed on limiting the negative impacts of heat and power systems. From 1991, when I started my PhD at The University of Leeds, to the present, I have been conducting original research into the following three main themes: Low nitrogen oxides emissions from natural gas burners; Ultra lean catalytic combustion for near zero pollutants emissions; and Sustainable production of high purity hydrogen, syngas and methane through advanced reforming processes. I use a combination of experimental investigation andof reactor modelling/process flowsheeting modelling approach to research in these themes, seeking to improve the efficiency of energy intensive processes by systematic comparison with predicted ideal behaviours and testing practical measures that intend to close the minimise the gap between ideal and real processes.

Most of my recent funding and research activities come under the latter theme, where I have led investigations since 2002 in demonstrating high purity hydogen generation with high efficiency from unconventional organic feedstocks by intensifying the process of catalytic steam reforming. In particular I have developed two approaches to steam reforming process intensification: chemical looping by oxygen transfer (also termed 'unmixed combustion' or unmixed reforming'), and sorption enhancement by high temperature CO2 capture, as well as combining the two technologies together for maximum synergies and achieving an overall autothermal process (i.e. a process without external heat demand), whilst still producing high purity gas outputs.

My research in this theme has given me opportunity to investigate very diverse feedstocks for hydrogen ( and in specific cases of non gas feedstock, methane) production, with a particular concern for sustainable sources. These encompass conventional natural gas, to unconventional gases, as well as semi volatile wastes from industry, transport and agriculture, such as  biodiesel and glycerol by-product of biodiesel, wastewater treatment effluents (for combined H2 production and conversion of nitrogenous content to harmless N2), urea, ammonia, fresh and used cooking oil, biodiesel, waste lubricating oil from vehicles, oils produced by the fast pyrolysis of waste tyres, palm empty fruit bunches (a large residue from palm oil production), pine wood residue from forestry.

Part of the process intensification is dedicated to working on and synthesising more performant materials as they are expected to exhibit good activity in simultaneous reactions (e.g. catalysis, oxygen transfer, CO2 transfer). This research has been supported through being principal investigator of the UK's EPSRC grants GR/R50677, EP/D078199/1, EP/F027389/1, EP/G01244X/1 (PI at Leeds), UKCCSRC (C2-181, PI at Leeds) as part of grant EP/K000446/1(RCUK Energy programme). Other financial support of the work has been through scholarships of individual PhD students (SIRIM Berhad, Malaysia, Government of Malaysia, Johnson Matthey/EPSRC Case Awards, PTDF Nigeria, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, China Council /Leeds Unviversity Scholarship, CoNaCyT (Mexico), Centre for Doctoral Training in Low Carbon Technologies (RCUK), Centre for Doctoral Training in Bioenergy (RCUK). I have also been co-investigator on recent EPSRC grants EP/J014702/1 and EP/J005029/1. Industrial collaborators have included Johnson Matthey Plc, Twigg Scientific and Technical Ltd, MEL chemicals, Saffil, Tyrolysis Co.

Research interests

  • Advanced Steam Reforming of Carbonaceous Sources for Energy Efficient Hydrogen Production
  • Autothermal reforming of unconventional feedstocks
  • Catalytic methanation of semi volatile waste organics
  • Hydrogen and heat demand management in biorefineries
  • feedstock characterisation for gasification
  • Catalytic Combustion - Development of Fully Premixed Ultra Fuel Lean Catalytic Burners, Development of Model Reactors and Chemical Mechanisms, Effects of Sulphur Species on the Catalysts Performance
  • Low NOx Burners - Partially Premixed Flames, NOx and SOx Interactions in Fully Premixed Flames


  • PhD Fuel and Energy, Leeds, 1994
  • INSA Lyon, Energie, 1990
  • PGCLTHE, 1996

Professional memberships

  • The Combustion Institute

Student education

I teach across all levels of undergraduate chemical engineering and related programmes, covering subjects of analytical techniques at level 2, chemical fuel processing technologies at MSc/MEng level, and industrial processes of air pollution control.

Research groups and institutes

  • Clean Combustion
  • Complex Systems and Processes
  • Energy Leeds
  • Low Carbon Energy
  • Waste Management and Resource Recovery