Institutions & Staff
The Biochar Demonstrator is led by principal investigator, Professor Colin Snape, at the University of Nottingham, with support from colleagues at the University of Nottingham, Bangor University, the University of Leeds, Forest Research, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre. For more information about our staff, see the staff profiles below.
The University of Nottingham
Professor Colin Snape
With over 30 years of experience working on many aspects of carbonisation and solid fuels, together with biochar characterisation, Colin has led many EU, UK Government and research council projects including directing two Centres of Doctoral Training. He has played a prominent role coordinating energy research at Nottingham and across the Midlands universities, leading to the establishment of the Energy Research Accelerator in 2017 and now The Biochar Demonstrator.
Dr William Meredith
Will is a geochemist and environmental scientist and developed hydropyrolysis for the quantification of the pyrolytic (black) carbon in biochar and soils to assess carbon sequestration. He leads the work on characterisation of biochar
Dr Clement Uguna
Clement is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Engineering, with extensive experience in pyrolysis. His previous research includes conventional oil and gas and shale gas formation as well biomass conversion to solid and liquid fuels.
Dr Cheng-gong Sun
Cheng-gong works extensively on new carbon materials for environmental applications and leads activities on hydrothermal carbonisation and activated carbons.
Dr Carol Morris
Co-Investigator (Social Science)
Carol is a human geographer with extensive experience of engagement with the farming community and a wide range of other agri-food system stakeholders; her work has examined sustainable intensification and farmer adaptation to policy and technological change.
Dr Catherine Price
Catherine is a Research Fellow in the School of Geography, University of Nottingham. Her research investigates how stakeholders understand and know the environmental risks and opportunities of biochar, and how this knowledge informs their perspectives.
Dr Jon McKechnie
Jon’s research focuses on lifecycle assessment (LCA) and technoeconomic assessment (TEA) to inform the design and optimisation of sustainable energy systems.
Dr Disni Gamaralalage
Disni Gamaralalage obtained her doctorate from the University of Tokyo, Japan in 2019 where she worked as a project researcher for 3 years undertaking life cycle assessments related to biomass-based processes. She joined the Biochar Demonstrator at University of Nottingham, UK as a research fellow in 2022.
Dr Helen West
Helen’s work involves biomass residues and nutrient dynamics including biochar effects on N2O and CO2 production following soil amendments, effects on crop growth, N fixation and kinetics. She has conducted field trials in the UK and elsewhere and has soil microbial and agronomic expertise.
Dr Tom Bott
Tom is a soil scientist and microbiologist who researches nutrient cycling in soil. He is working with biochar to see if its addition to soils changes nutrient cycling which might then have an impact, positive or negative, on crop growth and soil health.
Promise Simwinde Muleya
Promise is a senior technician based in the School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, conducting a range of analytical techniques including soil and plant elemental analyses, DNA extractions and field sample collection. He completed his Master’s degree in Physical Land Resources (Soil Science) at Ghent University in Belgium and a BSc in Natural Resources Management and Agriculture (Agronomy Major) from his native Zimbabwe. He has worked on projects ranging from integrated food, nutrition and incomes security programmes in Zimbabwe, to trace elemental analysis in plants and soil for the Geo-Nutrition, BIZIFED, MAGNET and Clima-LoCa projects UoN.
Professor Paul Wilson
Paul is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and the Chief Executive of the Rural Business Research. He analyses trade-offs between net energy, financial returns and greenhouse gas emissions at the farm-level given different market, regulatory and policy scenarios; understanding farmer behaviour and attitudes toward growing dedicated energy crops, using co-products and toward different tillage techniques.
Dr Katja Lehmann
Katja is a microbial ecologist and bioinformatician with over 6 years’ experience in microbiological processes, focussing on how microbial communities respond and interact under different pollution conditions.
Dr Genevieve Hodgins
Genevieve completed her doctorate on Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Nottingham in 2020, and has since worked in environmental consultancy. She has a special interest in science promoting the circular economy.
Professor Dave Chadwick
Dave is a Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems. He is an agriculture and environmental scientist with expertise in optimising nutrient use efficiencies, especially from organic resources, whilst minimising diffuse pollution to water and air.
Professor Davey Jones
Davey a Professor of Soil & Environmental Science with over 430 journal articles. He is funded by NERC, BBSRC, the Welsh Government, Defra and the EU and focuses on promoting carbon sequestration in agricultural systems, understanding factors regulating carbon cycling and GG emissions, developing ways to improve nutrient use efficiency in crops and soil microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning.
Dr Rob Brown
Rob is a post-doctoral researcher based in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University. He gained his PhD in Soil and Environmental Science in 2022 from Bangor University, where he focused on the relationship between the small molecule biochemical composition of soil and soil quality, using novel techniques (metabolomics, lipidomics and volatilomics). He is currently working to improve the understanding of biochar’s impact in grassland settings.
Siôn works as a research technician based in the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University. He has worked for over ten years in geo and environmental science based technical support roles at various universities both in the UK and internationally. Siôn provides technical support on the Biochar Demonstrator project.
The University of Leeds
Dr Timothy Cockerill
Tim is the Chair in Efficient Energy Utilisation; recent work models TEAs for GHG reduction potential, scale-up of energy storage systems and novel hydrogen production technologies.
Dr Yuzhou Tang
Yuzhou Tang obtained his doctorate from Shandong University, China in 2021 where he investigated the techno-economics and the life cycle assessment of a range of GHG removal technologies. He joined the Biochar Demonstrator at the University of Leeds, UK as a research fellow in 2022.
Tony is the Head of Circular Economy at Forest Research, with 27 years of experience in remediation and reclamation of brownfield and contaminated sites back to greenspace end-uses. He is the Technical Director of C-Cure Solutions, a biochar spin-out company from Forest Research and the University of Surrey, which has four biochar related patents.
Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre
Dr Philippa Ascough
Philippa is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, and the Head of the NERC Radiocarbon Laboratory, with 20 years’ experience applying radiocarbon in environmental sciences, quantifying pyrogenic carbon, its chemistry and stability