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HomeAcademic staffDr Meredith Barr
Dr Meredith Barr

Dr Meredith Barr

meredith.barr@lsbu.ac.uk

Chemical and Energy Engineering

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4671-4151

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I am a lecturer in the Division of Chemical & Energy Engineering. I joined LSBU in 2023, having previously worked at Imperial College London. I received my PhD in Chemical Engineering from Queen Mary University of London, and my first degree in Chemical-Biological Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I am passionate about sustainable materials because I believe that human and environmental health are not mutually exclusive. To survive as a species, we need to manufacture vital materials without causing irreparable damage to our environment. My research focuses on converting waste biomass to sustainable materials using a technique I call 'waste-negative parallel manufacturing': the co-production of diverse materials from complimentary fractions of biomass, with an emphasis on using more waste than is produced. Cradle-to-grave waste negativity necessitates (1) valorising waste feedstocks, (2) avoiding process waste by recycling reagents and utilising by-products, and (3) ensuring circularity of products.

My recent/ongoing research projects include (1) manufacturing petrochemical-free structural biocomposites from sawdust with ionic liquids and (2) developing biochar wastewater filters to combat the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment.

My upcoming research projects include (1) manufacturing lignin-based photoprotective materials, (2) tuning biochar morphology for improved nutrient retention, and (3) refreshing spent biochar adsorbents.

I am currently offering a funded PhD studentship on the topic of 'Manufacturing Bio-Based Photoprotective Products with Ionic Liquids'. Apply here by 22 October 2023: https://forms.gle/scPqFBViNVJs4Z3d7. If you would like to be contacted about other funded opportunities to work with me in the future, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/1MpELGHvcUrBGUZQ7.

Courses taught

Chemical and Energy Engineering - MEng (Hons)

Chemical and Energy Engineering - BEng (Hons)

Chemical and Energy Engineering (with foundation year)

Chemical Engineering - MEng (Hons)

Chemical Engineering - BEng (Hons)

Chemical Engineering (with foundation year)

Advanced Chemical Engineering - MSc

Chemical Engineering - BTEC HND

PhD in Chemical Engineering

Queen Mary University of London

2018
2022
BSc in Chemical-Biological Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2014
2018
PDRA in Polymer and Composite Engineering
Imperial College London

2021
2023
Education
ProposalProjectRoleFunderStatusStatus last updated
AIBSA: Automated Improvement of Biochar Surface Accessibility AIBSA: Automated Improvement of Biochar Surface Accessibility Principal InvestigatorBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)OPEN SubmittedFeb 2024
Insect digestion and pyrolysis: competitive or synergistic biorefining pathways?Insect digestion and pyrolysis: competitive or synergistic biorefining pathways?Principal InvestigatorUK Research and Innovation (UKRI)OPEN SubmittedDec 2023
Institution of Chemical Engineers
2022
Royal Society of Chemistry
2022
Prizes, awards, and accolades

New Opportunities Fund (Jan 2022)

Imperial College London Department of Aeronautics

PI on a research grant entitled 'Biochar filtration of antiseptics from wastewater – pilot study'


Branchline I13-2: X-ray Imaging Beamtime (AP27) (Jan 2020)

Diamond Light Source

72 hours of national facilities access awarded as Co-I for proposal MG25254 entitled 'In-situ micro computed tomography of thermally decomposing biomass'


Branchline I13-2: X-ray Imaging Beamtime (AP25) (Jan 2019)

Diamond Light Source

72 hours of national facilities access awarded as Co-I for proposal MG21587 entitled 'Resolving evolution of biomass char morphology during thermochemical breakdown'


Reach and Impact

SciStudio Animation (won in a science communication competition): When it comes to using biochar for environmental applications, morphology matters (Mar 2021)


Diamond Light Source Annual Review 2020/21: Tracking the shape of nutshells during biochar production (Jun 2021)


Jun 2022

Gave an invited talk entitled 'Ionic liquid processing of wood powder into additive-free wood composites' as the ECR speaker at Arthur Ragauskas's RSC Environment Prize Lecture hosted by the Imperial College London Department of Chemistry.


Sep 2022

Wrote copy for a Written Question to Government Tabled by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (UIN HL2326) on 26 September 2022: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-09-26/hl2326


Producing cellulose-reinforced biocomposite films from biomass using ionic liquids
Barr, M. and Lee, K.-Y. (2022). Producing cellulose-reinforced biocomposite films from biomass using ionic liquids. XII Iberoamerican Congress on Pulp and Paper Research. Girona, Spain 28 Jun - 01 Jul 2022 University of Girona. https://doi.org//10256/21215

Biochar-based wastewater treatment to combat antimicrobial resistance
Fady, P.-E., Richardson, A. K., Barron, L. P., Mason, A. J., Volpe, R. and Barr, M. R. (2022). Biochar-based wastewater treatment to combat antimicrobial resistance. XII Iberoamerican Congress on Pulp and Paper Research. Girona, Spain 28 Jun - 01 Jul 2022 https://doi.org/10256/21215

Alkaline pretreatment of walnut shells increases pore surface hydrophilicity of derived biochars
Barr, M. R., Forster, L., D’Agostino, C. and Volpe, R. (2022). Alkaline pretreatment of walnut shells increases pore surface hydrophilicity of derived biochars. Applied Surface Science. 571, p. 151253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2021.151253

Liquid biofuels from food crops in transportation – A balance sheet of outcomes
Barr, M. R., Volpe, R. and Kandiyoti, R. (2021). Liquid biofuels from food crops in transportation – A balance sheet of outcomes. Chemical Engineering Science: X. 10, p. 100090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cesx.2021.100090

Identifying Synergistic Effects between Biomass Components during Pyrolysis and Pointers Concerning Experiment Design
Barr, M. R., Volpe, R. and Kandiyoti, R. (2021). Identifying Synergistic Effects between Biomass Components during Pyrolysis and Pointers Concerning Experiment Design. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 9 (16), p. 5603–5612. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c00051

Towards a mechanistic understanding of particle shrinkage during biomass pyrolysis via synchrotron X-ray microtomography and in-situ radiography
Barr, M. R., Jervis, R., Zhang, Y., Bodey, A. J., Rau, C., Shearing, P. R., Brett, D. J. L., Titirici, M.-M. and Volpe, R. (2021). Towards a mechanistic understanding of particle shrinkage during biomass pyrolysis via synchrotron X-ray microtomography and in-situ radiography. Scientific Reports. 11, p. 2656. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80228-x

On the suitability of thermogravimetric balances for the study of biomass pyrolysis
Barr, M., Volpe, M., Messineo, A. and Volpe, R. (2020). On the suitability of thermogravimetric balances for the study of biomass pyrolysis. Fuel. 276, p. 118069. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2020.118069

Reactivity of cellulose during hydrothermal carbonization of lignocellulosic biomass.
Volpe, M., Messineo, A., Makela, M., Barr, M. R., Volpe, R., Corrado, C. and Fiori, L. (2020). Reactivity of cellulose during hydrothermal carbonization of lignocellulosic biomass. Fuel Processing Technology. 206, p. 106456. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuproc.2020.106456

Characterization of aggregate behaviors of torrefied biomass as a function of reaction severity
Barr, M., Kung, K. S., Thengane, S. K., Mohan, V., Sweeney, D. and Ghoniem, A. F. (2020). Characterization of aggregate behaviors of torrefied biomass as a function of reaction severity. Fuel. 266, p. 117152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2020.117152

X-Ray Image Analysis Code
Barr, M. R. (2020). X-Ray Image Analysis Code. OpenAIRE. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3742013

Towards resolving mechanisms of particle shrinking during biomass pyrolysis via micro-computed tomography and in-situ radiography
Barr, M. R., Zhang Y., Jervis R., Bodey A., Rau C. and Volpe R. (2019). Towards resolving mechanisms of particle shrinking during biomass pyrolysis via micro-computed tomography and in-situ radiography. Centre of Advanced Materials for Integrated Energy Systems Workshop: Multi-Modal Characterisation of Energy Materials . Cambridge, UK 06 Nov 2019

Study of char morphology during biomass pyrolysis and gasification via micro-computed tomography
Barr, M. R., Zhang, Y., Jervis, R. and Volpe, R. (2019). Study of char morphology during biomass pyrolysis and gasification via micro-computed tomography. American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition. San Diego, CA, USA 25 - 29 Aug 2019

Influence of Reactor Design on Product Distributions from Biomass Pyrolysis
Barr, M., Volpe, R. and Kandiyoti, R. (2019). Influence of Reactor Design on Product Distributions from Biomass Pyrolysis. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. 7 (16), p. 13734–13745. https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b01368

A Simple Standardization Method for the Biodiesel Cold Soak Filtration Apparatus
Haas, M. J., Barr, M. R., Phillips, J. and Wagner, K. M. (2015). A Simple Standardization Method for the Biodiesel Cold Soak Filtration Apparatus. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 92 (9), pp. 1357-1363. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-015-2695-3