Chemical Engineering


Professor Jin Xuan PhD, CEng, FIMechE, FHEA

Photo of Professor Jin Xuan

Head of Department of Chemical Engineering

Director of UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy

Chair in Low Carbon Processes

Professor Jin Xuan graduated with a PhD degree from The University of Hong Kong in 2012, with the research topic in energy and environment engineering.

His academic career in the UK started in 2014, when he took up a Lectureship in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. He was appointed as the Associate Director of the Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) at Heriot-Watt in 2017.

Professor Xuan joined Loughborough University in 2018 as a Senior Lecturer, was promoted to Professor and awarded a Personal Chair in Low Carbon Processes in 2019 and became Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2020.

Professor Xuan has won a number of prestigious prizes and awards in recognition of his research excellence. He is the recipient of the Beilby Medal and Prize, jointly from the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) in 2020 for his work that ‘has exceptional practical significance in chemical engineering, applied materials science, energy efficiency or a related field’.

Professor Xuan actively takes leadership in the wider research community globally. He is a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) for the cross-council Energy Programme. He is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Digital Chemical Engineering (IChemE and Elsevier), Editor of Energy and AI (Elsevier), and a Topic Editor of ‘Emerging Technologies for Circular Economy’ for Frontiers in Energy Research. Professor Xuan is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), where he serves as a committee member for its Ethical Principles Committee, as well as a board member of its Process Industries Division.

Professor Xuan is an advocate for Responsible Assessment. He was recently interviewed by Nature as part of a news item “China bans cash rewards for publishing papers”, where he provided his expert view on policy development for proper use of journal metrics in research evaluation. He also actively promotes EDI in the wider research community. He is currently editing a special issue of ‘Inclusion and Diversity Approach to Energy and AI’ in the Energy and AI journal, which is the first of its kind special issue of Elsevier journals to tackle EDI challenges in the research and authorship community. 

Honors and awards

  • 2020  Beilby Medal and Prize, jointly awarded from SCI, RSC and IOM3
  • 2019  Highly Commended Prize in IChemE Global Award (Research Project Award)
  • 2019  1st Place Prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry Twitter Conference
  • 2018  Highly Commended Prize for IET Young Innovator Award
  • 2018  Highly Commended Prize for IET Innovation Award in Energy and Power
  • 2018  Applied Energy ICAE Best Paper Award (Corresponding Author), Elsevier
  • 2016  Outstanding Reviewer for 13 Elsevier Journals
  • 2015  Scottish Energy News Researcher of the Year Award in Energy and Materials

Outline of main research interests

Professor Xuan’s research focuses on the clean growth, industrial decarbonisation, circular economy and sustainable development via engineering innovations in solar fuels, CCUS, hydrogen and fuel cells, e-synthesis, etc. He is passionate about developing and applying bespoke AI and digital solutions to enable next generation energy and chemical devices, processes and systems.

The future sustainable development of novel energy generation and materials manufacturing relies on radical innovations in chemical processes with highly embedded functionality, integration and multi-physics interactions. Prof Xuan has led the development of novel multiscale predictive models beyond the state of art for complex chemical and energy systems, and has delivered affordable, inclusive low-carbon solutions to tackle global climate change challenges. His work on advanced modelling has influenced the fundamental understanding of complex flow and chemical systems, by having discovered a number of important reaction/fluid phenomena at microscale, and has impacted on the development of a series of energy devices, such as fuel cells, electrolysers and solar fuelreactors.

His current research is focusing on the digital transformation of complex chemical and energy processes via integrated smart sensing, advanced modelling and data-centric deep learning, with a vision to deliver a paradigm-shift in how future chemical and energy processes can be designed, optimised and self-evolved throughout their entire lifecycle, enabling connected products and services, and making them super-efficient, zero-loss, whilst maximising their value creation.

Circular Chemical Economy

Prof Xuan is the Director of the £4.5 million UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy. It brings together stakeholders from academia, industry, government, NGOs and general public to transform the UK’s chemical industry into a fossil-independent, climate-positive and environmentally-friendly circular economy. The Centre will play a key role in helping the UK to reduce waste and the environmental impacts of production and consumption and creating opportunities for new UK industries.

Research grants and projects

2022-2025 PI, EPSRC, EP/W018969/1
Biomanufacturing with carbon capture and utilisation: A Zero Carbon Loss System

Co-I,EPSRC EP/V042432/1

“Digital Circular Electrochemical Economy (DCEE)”


PI, Loughborough University Institute of Advanced Studies

“IAS Annual Theme: Interdisciplinary AI”



“Electrochemical valorisation of waste products towards biofuel applications–technology demonstrator fabrication & market validation”


PI, EPSRC EP/V011863/1

“UKRI Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy”


PI, Royal Society, NIF\R1\191864

“Deep optimisation of fuel cell electrodes via reinforcement learning integrated with physically-meaningful multiphase electrochemical modelling”


PI, EPSRC (through Supergen Bioenergy Hub)

“E-Bio-Fuel: Electrosynthsis of biofuels via co-valorisation of bio-fermentation products and captured CO2—A feasibility study”


Co-I, Royal Academy of Engineering-Industry Academia Partnership Grant, IAPP18-19\154

“Design and development of a four wheeled electric vehicle for research, teaching and outreach in Tamil Nadu, India”   


PI, Royal Society-Newton Advanced Fellowship, NAF\R1\180146

“Multiphase heat and mass transfer inside porous electrode of high-performance proton exchange membrane fuel cells”


PI, Royal Society Research Grant RSG\R1\180162

“Additive manufacturing: Unlocking the evolution of energy materials and systems”


PI, Newton Fund from British Council 2017-RLWK9-10910

UK-China Researcher Link Workshop “Electric revolution for zero-emission road transport: beyond diesel and petrol”


PI, EPSRC EP/R012164/1

“Solar Optofluidics (SOLO): Water Splitting beyond the 1.23 eV Thermodynamic Constraints”


PI, Royal Society Kan Tong Po International Fellowship KTP\R1\170014

“CO2 valorisation via integrated electrochemical material and process design”


PI, Energy Technology Partnership Grant PJ0179-ES

 “Energy Storage Optimisation”


PI, Global Innovation Initiative Award

“Emission-to-Liquid-Fuel conversion: Hybrid-catalyst boosted CO2 hydrogenation microreactor system”


Co-I, European Commission Horizon 2020-MSCA-RISE, 734796

“RDC2MT: Research, Demonstration and Commercialisation of DC Microgrid Technologies”


Co-I and WP Leader, EPSRC EP/N009924/1

“Low carbon jet fuel through integration of novel technologies for co-valorisation of CO2 and biomass”


PI, Scottish Funding Council

“MESO-ENERGY: Mesoscience for Energy Materials”


PI (Supervisor), Hong Kong-Scotland Partners in Post Doctoral Research

“Novel graphene aerogel electrocatalyst for fuel cell and CO2 utilization”


Co-I, Scottish Funding Council

“Development of novel electrochemical cells for high-efficiency conversion of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide fuel”


Recent representative publications

  1. Jiao K, Xuan J, Du Q, Bao Z, Xie B, Wang B, Zhao Y, Fan L, Wang H, Hou Z, Huo S, Brandon NP, Yin Y, Guiver MD, Designing the next-generation of proton exchange membrane fuel cells, Nature, 2021, 595, 361-369
  2. Niu Z, Pinfield VJ, Wu B, Wang H, Jiao K, Leung DYC, Xuan J*, Towards the digitalisation of porous energy materials: Evolution of digital approaches for microstructural design, Energy & Environmental Science, 2021, 14, 2549-2576. (Highlighted as journal front cover)
  3. Pan W, Zhao Y, Mao J, Wang Y, Zhao X, Leung KW, Luo S, Liu X, Wang H, Xuan J, Yang S, Chen Y, Leung DYC, High-energy single-walled carbon nanotube cathode for aqueous Al-ion battery boosted by multi-ion intercalation chemistry, Advanced Energy Materials, 2021, 11, 2101514. (Highlighted as journal back cover)
  4. Wang B, Zhang G, Wang H, Xuan J*, Jiao K, Multi-physics-resolved digital twining of proton exchange membrane fuel cells with a data-driven surrogate model, Energy and AI, 2020, 1, 100004.
  5. Lu X, Zhu C, Wu Z, Xuan J, Francisco JS, Wang H, In-situ observation of the pH gradient near the gas diffusion electrode of CO2 reduction in alkaline electrolyte, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2020, 142, 15438–15444. (Highlighted as journal front cover)
  6. Wang P, Zhang H, Wang H, Li D, Xuan J*, Zhang L, Hybrid manufacturing of three-dimensional hierarchical porous carbons for electrochemical storage, Advanced Materials Technologies, 2020, 5, 1901030. (Highlighted in the journal Frontispiece)
  7. Xu H, Ma J, Tan P, Chen B, Wu Z, Zhang Y, Xuan J*, Ni M, Towards online optimisation of solid oxide fuel cell performance: combining deep learning with multi-physics simulation, Energy and AI, 2020, 1, 100003.
  8. Lu X, Wu Y, Yuan X, Huang L, Wu Z, Xuan J, Wang Y, Wang H, High performance electrochemical CO2 reduction cells based on non-noble metal catalysts, ACS Energy Letters, 2018, 3, 2527–2532. (Most Read Article-July 2018)
  9. Zhakeyev A, Wang P, Zhang L, Shu W, Wang H, Xuan J*, Additive manufacturing: Unlocking the evolution of energy materials, Advanced Science, 2017, 4, 1700187. (Most Accessed Article in November 2017)
  10. Wang B, Prinsen P, Wang H, Bai Z, Wang H, Luque R, Xuan J*, Macroporous materials: microfluidic production, functionalization and application, Chemical Society Reviews, 2017, 46, 855-914.

For full list of publications, View central publications database

Key external collaborators (with joint on-going projects)

  • Imperial College London
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Oxford University
  • Yale University, USA
  • East China University of Science and Technology
  • Tianjin University
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences

External roles and appointments

  • EPSRC Energy Strategic Advisory Committee member
  • Committee Member, Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Committee, The Engineering Professors’ Council
  • Board Member, IMechE’s Process Industries Division
  • Committee Member, IMechE Ethical Principles Committee
  • Editor-in-Chief, Digital Chemical Engineering
  • Editor, Energy and AI
  • Editorial Board Member, Energy Reports
  • International Advisor, HKIE Transactions

Teaching responsibilities:

  • Process Economics and Project Planning (module leader)
  • Clean Energy, Materials and Sustainability
  • Circular Economy
  • Reaction Engineering I
  • MEng Team Process Design Project (supervisor)


2015      “An insight into eTL technologies”, by The Royal Society of Chemistry: Energy Sector Newsletters

2018      “Scientists see the light and make cheaper fuel from sun”, by The Times

2018      “Future fuel quest takes a step forward”, by BBC News

2019      “UK researchers customize resins for SLA 3D Printing of continuous flow microreactors”, by 3DPrint News and 3D Printing Zoom

2019      “Low carbon fuel production from CO2”, by BBC Radio Leicester Live Broadcast 30 April 2019

2019      “Experimenting to save the planet”, by BBC East Midland Today Evening News (TV) 14 May 2019

2019      “CO2-to-Fuel Research Project”, Interviewed by Global Media & Entertainment 22 May 2019

2019      “CO2 mixed with water to produce green fuel”, by BBC Radio Leicester Live Broadcast 28 May 2019

2019      “Scientists developing green fuels from industrial CO2”, by Air Quality News

2019      “University secures Department for Transport funding for biofuels projects”, by Biofuels International, Insider Media and East Midlands Business Link

2019      Personal profile featured in Engineering Council’s case studies

2019      “RAEng to fund research into electric vehicles for India” in The Engineer, Inc42, Insider, PV Magazine and East Midland Business Link

2019      “Virtual engine test simulator transforming China’s hydrogen car industry” in FuelCellsWorks, Vestors Capital (in Germany), Yahoo! (in Germany),  The Rooftop and H2 view

2020      “Nanocomposites: SLA 3D printing with graphene oxide elastomers” in 3DPrint News

2020      Interviewed as part of “China bans cash rewards for publishing papers” in Nature

2020      “New Centre to improve sustainability within the UK chemical industry”, featured in ‘success stories’ of National Centre for Universities & Business, and reported by The Chemical Engineer,, Your Business FocusThe Scotsman

2021      “Towards a Circular Chemical Economy: Stakeholders’ Perspectives”, The Chemical Engineer Magazine

2021      Video of the week: Sustainability in the chemical industry, The Engineer