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Wan-Ting Chen

IMAGE OF Wan Ting Chen
Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Plastic recycling, Biomass conversion, Polymer thermodynamics, Material property analysis, Microplastic pollutant prevention, Process design.

Chemical and biological recycling of plastics; Plastic degradation; Renewable fuels, plastics and additives synthesis; Safe/green solvent formulations; Microplastic transport and fate; Lifecycle assessment and techno-economic analyses of organic waste. treatment technologies


  • Postdoc: Chemical Engineering, (2018), Purdue University
    Supporting Area: Plastic Recycling
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Conversion of Plastic Waste into Pristine Polymers, Clean Fuels and Monores for a Sustainable Future
  • Ph D: Agricultural & Biological Engineering, (2017), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Supporting Area: Biomass Conversion
  • MS: Agricultural & Biological Engineering, (2013), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Supporting Area: Biomass Conversion
  • BS: Chemical Engineering, (2011), National Taiwan University


Prior to joining the faculty at Lowell, Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen is a postdoc research associate in the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. Grace received her B.Sc in Chemical Engineering from the National Taiwan University, M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Grace’s PhD research work focused on developing a synergistically integrated waste-to-fuel system that simultaneously produces biofuel and treats wet biowaste via algae growth and hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL). In particularly, Grace’s PhD work contributes to the area of upgrading complex HTL biocrude oil converted from biowaste into transportation fuels by distillation, esterification, and catalytic treatments. Grace’s ongoing work focuses on valorization of plastic waste into useful products, including pristine polymers, fuels, specialty chemicals, and monomers.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding contribution in reviewing for Algal Research (2018), Service, Professional - Elsevier
  • Outstanding contribution in reviewing for Bioresource Technology (2017), Service, Professional - Elsevier
  • AIChE’s Women’s Initiatives Committee (WIC) Travel Award (2016), Scholarship/Research - AICHE
  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2016), Scholarship/Research - University of Illinois
  • Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship (2016), Teaching - University of Illinois
  • Selected participants of Purdue Prospective Faculty Workshop (2016), Scholarship/Research - Purdue University
  • First place of Collegiate Technical Poster Competition in SWE14 Annual Conference (2014), Scholarship/Research - SWE
  • ERM Foundation Sustainable Fellowship (2013), Scholarship/Research - ERM Foundation
  • Second place of Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award (2013), Scholarship/Research - ASABE

Selected Publications

  • Chen, W., Wu, Z., Si, B., Zhang, Y. (). Renewable Diesel Blendstocks and Biopriviliged Chemicals Distilled from Algal Biocrude Oil Converted via Hydrothermal Liquefaction. American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Chen, W., Jin, K., Linda Wang, N. (2019). Use of Supercritical Water for the Liquefaction of Polypropylene into Oil. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7(4) 3749-3758.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Lee, T.H., Wu, Z., Si, B., Lee, C.F., Lin, A., Sharma, B.K. (2018). Renewable diesel blendstocks produced by hydrothermal liquefaction of wet biowaste. Nature Sustainability, 1(11) 702.
  • Chen, W., Qian, W., Zhang, Y., Mazur, Z., Kuo, C., Scheppe, K., Schideman, L.C., Sharma, B.K. (2017). Effect of ash on hydrothermal liquefaction of high-ash content algal biomass. Algal Research, 25 297--306.
  • Zhang, Y., Chen, W. (2017). Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Protein-Containing Feedstocks (pp. 127--168). Woodhead Publishing
  • Chen, W., Tang, L., Qian, W., Scheppe, K., Nair, K., Wu, Z., Gai, C., Zhang, P., Zhang, Y. (2016). Extract Nitrogen-Containing Compounds in Biocrude Oil Converted from Wet Biowaste via Hydrothermal Liquefaction. ACS Sustainable Chemistry \& Engineering, 4(4) 2182--2190.
  • Gai, C., Zhang, Y., Chen, W., Zhou, Y., Schideman, L., Zhang, P., Tommaso, G., Kuo, C.T., Dong, Y. (2015). Characterization of aqueous phase from the hydrothermal liquefaction of Chlorella pyrenoidosa. Bioresource technology, 184 328-335.
  • Tommaso, G., Chen, W., Li , P., Schideman, L., Zhang, Y. (2015). Chemical characterization and anaerobic biodegradability of hydrothermal liquefaction aqueous products from mixed-culture wastewater algae. Bioresource technology, 178 139-146.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Zhang, J., Schideman, L., Yu, G., Zhang, P., Minarick, M. (2014). Co-liquefaction of swine manure and mixed-culture algal biomass from a wastewater treatment system to produce bio-crude oil. Applied Energy, 128 209--216.
  • Chen, W., Ma, J., Zhang, Y., Gai, C., Qian, W. (2014). Physical pretreatments of wastewater algae to reduce ash content and improve thermal decomposition characteristics. Bioresource technology, 169 816-820.
  • Chen, W., Zhang, Y., Zhang, J., Yu, G., Schideman, L.C., Zhang, P., Minarick, M. (2014). Hydrothermal liquefaction of mixed-culture algal biomass from wastewater treatment system into bio-crude oil. Bioresource technology, 152 130-9.
  • Pham, M., Schideman, L., Sharma, B.K., Zhang, Y., Chen, W. (2013). Effects of hydrothermal liquefaction on the fate of bioactive contaminants in manure and algal feedstocks. Bioresource technology, 149 126-35.
  • Gai, C., Zhang, Y., Chen, W., Zhang, P., Dong, Y. (2013). Thermogravimetric and kinetic analysis of thermal decomposition characteristics of low-lipid microalgae. Bioresource technology, 150 139-48.
  • Zhang, J., Chen, W., Zhang, P., Luo, Z., Zhang, Y. (2013). Hydrothermal liquefaction of Chlorella pyrenoidosa in sub- and supercritical ethanol with heterogeneous catalysts. Bioresource technology, 133 389-97.
  • Chen, W., Lin, C., Shih, P., Chang, W. (2012). Adsorption of phosphate into waste oyster shell: thermodynamic parameters and reaction kinetics. Desalination and Water Treatment, 47(1-3) 86-95.

Selected Presentations

  • Integrated Bio-Refineries of Biocrude Oil Converted from Wet Bio-Waste Via Hydrothermal Liquefaction into Drop-in Fuel and Value-Added Chemical - American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) Annual Meeting, November 2015 - Salt Lake City, UT
  • Mitigation of Nitrogen-containing compounds in Bio-crude Oils by Serial Extraction - American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual Meeting, July 2014 - Montreal, QC
  • Screen Pretreatment for Improvement of Bio-crude oil Quality Converted from Mixed-culture Algal Biomass from Wastewater Treatment System - American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual Meeting, July 2014 - Montreal, QC
  • Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Wastewater Algae Mixtures into Bio-crude Oil - Division of Energy & Fuels, American Chemical Society, 2013 - Indianapolis, IN
  • Assessment of Converting Waste-fed Algae into Biocrude Oil via Hydrothermal Liquefaction: Product Distribution, Composition and Characterization - American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual Meeting, July 2013 - Kansas City, MO
  • Product Distribution of Hydrothermal Conversion for Two Types of Algae and Mixtures with Swine Manure - American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) Annual Meeting, August 2012 - Dallas, TX

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Chemical Recycling of Mixed Plastics and Precious Metals in the Electronic Wastes Using Solvent-based Processing (2019), Grant - The REMADE Institute
    Chen, W.
  • Flame Retardant Textile Finishes (2019), Grant - HEROES US Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center SLIMMER Project
    Chen, W., Nagarajan, R., Kumar, J.
  • Mulch Films from Soy Waste (2019), Grant - United Soybean Board
    Chen, W., Mead, J.
  • Identification of Critical Performance Properties for Barrier Materials in Hot Sauce Packaging for Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) Rations (2019), Grant - Defense Logistics Agency
    Chen, W., Peterson, A., Mead, J.
  • Safer Coating Strippers: Substitution of Methylene Chloride (2019), Contract - Toxics Use Reduction Institute
    Chen, W.