Personal profile


Xiaolei received his bachelor's degree (BEng) in Environmental Engineering from Jilin Institute of Chemical Technology, China in 2003. In 2006, he obtained the master’s degree (MRes) in Chemical Engineering from East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST). At EUST, he focused on investigating the coal gasification kinetics and developing kinetic models for designing coal gasification reactors.

In September 2006, Xiaolei joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Bath as a PhD candidate, funded by ORSAS and University of Bath. During his PhD projects, Xiaolei worked withProf. Alexei A. Lapkin and Dr.Pawel K. Plucinski to design structured multifunctional reactors and novel carbon-based catalysts for continuous-flow heterogeneous catalysis.

After his PhD, from May 2010 to September 2013, Xiaolei worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the School of Engineering at University of Warwick and then in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at University of Cambridge. During this period, He was contracted by EC FP7 projects and focused on developing nanomaterial-based catalysts and multi-scale modeling of catalytic multiphase reactions in structured reactors.

In October 2013, Xiaolei joined The University of Manchester as an academic member in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Research interests

I am an interdisciplinary chemical engineer with general research interests in catalysis, porous materials, chemical reaction engineering and process intensification. Current research projects in my group include (i) framework materials (e.g. metal-organic frameworks, MOFs, zeolites) for gas separation and catalysis, (ii) hierarchical catalytic structures based on open-cell SiC foams for catalysis, (iii) non-thermal activation of catalytic system using microwave and plasma, and (iv) catalytic biorefinery over zeolite-based catalysts.


It is a pleasure for me to work with enthusiastic and committed postgraduate research (PGR) students. I am interested in supervising PGR students who has general research interests in:

(i) Porous materials for adsorption and heterogeneous catalysis

(ii) Process intensification with structured reactors/catalysts;

(iii) Catalytic reaction engineering;

(iv) Chemical kinetics and kinetic modelling;

(v) Advanced characterisation of catalytic materials.

Potential postgraduate candidates are welcome to contact me to formulate research projects in these areas.

Funding information at The University of Manchester can be found at:


Current available projects for 2022 entry:

Please contact me directly for queries.

For Chinese PGR candidates with intension to apply for CSC scholarship, please apply through Manchester system before October 2022 for 2023 entry. Strong publication records with recognisable international journals and good Chinese university degrees are essential for CSC application.  

My group

Catalysis and porous materials

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Engineering, Continuous flow heterogeneous catalysis in a structured compacted reactor, University of Bath

Award Date: 1 Oct 2010

External positions

Applied Catalysis Group Committee Member, The Royal Society of Chemistry

Jan 2018 → …

Areas of expertise

  • QD Chemistry

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Energy


  • catalysis
  • porous materials
  • reaction engineering
  • adsorption


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