Dr Bushra Al-Duri

Dr Bushra Al-Duri

School of Chemical Engineering
Reader in Hydrothermal Processing

Contact details

School of Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Bushra Al-Duri is a Reader in hydrothermal processing specialised in supercritical water technology as a green advanced process for chemical treatment/recycling of complex wastes. Her track record exceeds 132 publications, including 46 conference papers, 22 keynote lectures and 28 PhD studentships.  Her specialty covers fundamentals and design of high-pressure high-temperature processes, to convert hazardous waste to useful compounds, clean water and energy. Her latest work involves assesses a novel promising technology that offers a full-circle solution to the UK and global problem of fast-accumulating end-of-life (EoL) packaging plastics.

Bushra is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


Current modules:
  • Petrochemical Engineering (Module Coordinator) [10 credits].
  • Process Integration and Unit Operations [20 credits].

Previous modules:

  • Enzyme Kinetics and Reactor Design [20 credits].
  • Mass Transfer Processes I, II & III [20 credits each].
  • Air Pollution Control in Environment & Public Health [20 credits].
  • Engineering Fundamentals for Wastewater Treatment [20 credits] at the University of Tokyo.
  • Biochemical Engineering (Enzyme kinetics & Fermentation)[10 credits] at the University of Cambridge.
  • Fluid Mechanics [30 credits].
  • Simultaneous Heat & Mass Transfer [20 credits].
  • Chemical Reactions Engineering [20 credits].
  • Contact-Equilibrium-Separation Processes [30 credits].

Postgraduate supervision

22 completed PhD studentships and 5 current students.


Throughout my career I worked in 8 research areas evolving into new fields as new interests developed in sync with my technical progress, new industrial requirements and national emphasis.  However, over the last few years, my focus has been on:

1.         Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) for Hazardous Waste Treatment

It is an advanced process for the complete abatement of hazardous, non-biodegradable hydrocarbon wastes typically found in pharmaceutical, chemical, petrochemical and clinical wastes.  The process epitomises circular economy by waste destruction, energy production, zero toxic emission, landfill elimination, and carbon print reduction.   

My research focuses on design, construction and operation of bench scale continuous systems aimed towards:

(1)       Investigation of reaction kinetics.

(2)       Enhancement of SCWO performance by improved designs and use of co-fuels.

Further, development of vital industrial links and dialogues naturally shifts the emphasis of research towards commercial applications, and incorporation of SCWO in the ‘bigger picture’. Selected projects are:

  • Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) of dimethyl formamide for hazardous wastewater treatment: process enhancement with multi-port oxidant injection. 
  • Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) of 1,8-Diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene [DBU]: Enhanced process with co-fuel addition.
  • Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) of petrochemical waste: experimental and energy simulation work.
  • Supercritical water oxidation & wet air oxidation of DBU
  • Supercritical water oxidation of waste aqueous pharmaceutical effluents, study of quinolone.

2.         Simulation & Design of SCW Cycles

Simulation of SCW Cycles is conducted to investigate the thermodynamic properties of SCW with view of application in advanced supercritical power plants.  The aim is to

(1)          Significantly improve the power plant efficiency by improving energy,

(2)          Develop energy storage techniques in SCW cycles as substitutes to the conventional techniques.

Selected projects are:  

  • Simulation of SCW thermodynamic properties in SCWCFPP
  • Supercritical Coal Fired Power Plant – simulation of the power plant

3.         Thermodynamic Investigations on Energy Storage in Cryogenic Systems

Cryogenic systems can be viewed as the “other side of the coin” to supercritical systems. Thus our experience in SCF thermodynamic behaviour is applied to investigate the potential of energy storage and recovery from cryogenic systems, which store energy in the form of compressed / supercritical air. This involves design and construction of supercritical air test-rig to generate ‘real data’, where the capability of energy storage and recovery is tested.  Current project is:

  • Thermodynamic investigation on supercritical air cycles for the purpose of energy storage and recovery

4.         Alternative Fuel Precursors and Platform Chemicals

Production of Furfurals from C6 Sugars (fructose): Hydromethoxyfurfural [5-HMF] is a highly important platform chemical that results from the degradation of C6 sugar.  5HMF can be used as transport biofuel pre-cursor as well as bio-plastics building unit.  In our laboratory we have succeeded in producing high-yield 5HMF from fructose, using novel DES solvents with high yield and low cost.  DES solvents are cheap, abundant and have dual ability as solvent and catalyst. 

Production of dimethyl furan (2,5 DMF) from 5HMF: Furans are high energy density molecules that can be blended with gasoline for dual combustion engines. We have produced DMF with high yield and selectivity using catalytic and bio-catalytic systems.  Projects are:

  • Production of 5HMF from fructose using DES (deep eutectic solvents).
  • Production of DMF from 5HMF using Ru/C and Ru/bio-support catalysts.
  • Catalytic production of 2MF and fufuryl alcohol from furfural.

5.         Supercritical CO2-mediated extraction processes

Extraction and Fractionation of High-Value Minority Lipids from Plants:  My activities in this field were between 2000 and 2007.  Studies were conducted on semi-batch and continuous systems to isolate high-value nutraceuticals. Example projects are:

  • Fractionation of tocopherols & squalene from palm fatty acid distillates using SCCO2 as fractionating fluid.
  • Extraction of value-added lipids from Amaranth seeds, in SCCO­2.

Other activities

  • External Examiner for MSc in Energy Studies Programme, School of Engineering, University of East Anglia for the Academic years 2012/13 – 2014/15.
  • External Examiner for PhD students at the Universities of Nottingham, Loughborough, UCL, Bath, University of Cadiz (Spain), KU Leuven (Belgium).
  • Referee for scientific journals: The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, Chemical Engineering Science, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, International Journal of Food Science and Technology, Environmental Science and Technology, Biochemical Engineering Journal, Chemical Engineering and Processing, The Journal of Chemical and Biochemical Technology, Journal of Hazardous Materials.


122 in total; of which 79 are in internationally refereed journals, 43 in international refereed conferences. Publications over the last 5 years:

In Journals

Assanosi, A.; Farah, M.M.; Wood, J.; and Al-Duri, B.; “Fructose dehydration to 5HMF in a green self-catalysed DES composed of N,N-diethylethanolammonium chloride and p-toluenesulfonic acid monohydrate (p-TSA)”,  Compte Rendu – Chimie, doi:10.1016/j.crci.2015.11.004, in press.

Al-Duri, B.; Alsoqyani, F. and Kings, I.; “Supercritical water oxidation for the destruction of hazardous waste: better than incineration”, available at: http://rsta.royalsocierypublishing.org, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A373: 20150013.

Cabeza, P.; Al-Duri, B.; Bermejo, M.D. and Cocero M.J.; “Experimental Results of the co-oxidation of Ammonia and Isopropanol in Supercritical Water in a tubular reactor”, Chemical Engineering Research and Design 92 (2014), pp. 2568-2574.

Assanosi, A.A,; Farah, M.M.; Wood, J. and Al-Duri, B.; “A facile acidic choline chloride–p-TSA DES-catalysed dehydration of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural”, RSC Adv. 4 (2014) 39359-39364. 

Symes D., Taylor-Cox C., Holyfield L., Al-Duri B., Dhir A., “Feasibility of an oxygen-getter with nickel electrodes in alkaline electrolysers”, Materials for Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2014, Volume 27 (3).

Symes, D.; Al-Duri, B. and Dhir, A., “Improved alkaline electrolyser for enhanced electrochemical performance and reduced electrode degradation”, Int’l J. Low-Carbon Technol., Dec 28th (2013) 1 – 8.

Garcia-Jarana, M.B.; Kings, I.; Sanchez-Oneto, J.; Portela, J.R.; and Al-Duri, B.; “Supercritical Water Oxidation of Nitrogen Compound with multi-injection of oxygen”, J. of Supercritical Fluids 80 (2013) 23–29.

Symes, D., Al-Duri, B., Dhir, A., Bujalski, W., "Cost-effective design of the alkaline electrolyser for enhanced electrochemical performance and reduced electrode degradation", International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 2013, doi: 10.1093/ijlct/ctt034.

Symes D., Al-Duri B., Dhir A., “Degradation Characterisation of Nickel Electrodes of an Alkaline Electrolyser”, 4th European PEFC and H2 Forum Conference Proceedings, 2013, Chapter 6, Section A07, p68-78.

Symes, D.; Al-Duri, B.; Bujalski, W. and Dhir, A., “Design for on-site hydrogen production for hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for refuelling station at University of Birmingham”, Energy Procedia, 29 (2012) 606 – 615.

Al-Darmaki, N.; Lu, T.; Al-Duri, B.; Harris, J.B.; Favre, T.L.F; Bhaggan, K and Santos, R.C.D., “Isothermal and temperature gradient supercritical fluid extraction and fractionation of squalene from palm fatty acid distillate using compressed carbon dioxide”, J. of Supercritical Fluids, 61 (2012) 108 – 114.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J.; Guo, S.; Wei, J.; Al-Duri, B.; Lv, J. and Gao, Q., Chapter 1 – Mathematical Modelling for Coal Fired Supercritical Power Plants & Model Parameter Identification using Generic Algorithms, Electrical Engineering and Applied Computing, Ao, S.L. and Gelman, L. [Ed.], Springers Science & Business (2011) ISBN978-94-007-1191-4.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J. and Al-Duri, B., “Study of a Multivariable Coordinate Control for a Supercritical Power Plant”, 17th International Conference on Automation and Computing. Huddersfield. UK, Sep. 2011.

Al-Darmaki, N.; Lu, T.; Al-Duri, B.; Harris, J.B.; Favre, T.L.F; Bhaggan, K and Santos, R.C.D., “Solubility measurements and analysis of binary, ternary and quaternary systems of palm olein, squalene and oleic acid in supercritical carbon dioxide”, Separation and Purification Technology, 83 (2011) 189–195.

Aschenbrenner, O.; McGuire, P.; Alsamaq, S.; Wang, J.; Supasitmongkol, S.; Al-Duri, B.; Styring, P.; Wood, J., Adsorption of carbon dioxide on hydrotalcite-like compounds of different compositions, Chem. Eng. Res. Des., 89 (2011) 1711 - 1721.

Rigby, S.P.; Chigada, P.I.; Wang, J.; Wilkinson, S.K.; Bateman, H.K.; Al-Duri, B.; Wood, J.; Bakalis, S.; and Miri, T., Improving the interpretation of mercury porosimetry data using computerised X-ray tomography and mean-field DFT, Chemical Engineering Science, 66 (2011) 2328–2339.

Chigada, P.I.; Wang, J.; Al-Duri, B.; Wood, J.; and Rigby, S.P., “Modelling of pore structure evolution during catalyst deactivation and comparison with experiment”, Chemical Engineering Science, 65 (2010) 5550–5558.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J.; Al-Duri, B. and Guo S., “Modeling Study of Supercritical Power Plant and Parameter Identification Using Genetic Algorithm” Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2010, London, Vol II, pp973-978.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J.; Al-Duri, B. and Guo S., “Modeling Study of a Nonlinear Power Plant Supercritical Boiler-Turbine-Generator System and Identification of Unknown Parameters” Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Automation & Computing, Birmingham, 11 September 2010.

In refereed conferences:

Al-Duri, B., “Supercritical Water Oxidation: from fundamentals to Kinetics”, ISSF2014, Marseille, France, May 18 – 21, 2014.

Gil, A., Kings, I. & Al-Duri, B., ISSF2014, Marseille, France, May 18-21, 2014.

Al-Duri, B., SCWO 10th European Conference on Supercritical Fluids, Naples, Italy, April 29 – May 6, 2013.

Osibo, P.; Oshima, Y. and Al-Duri, B., “Supercritical water oxidation of 1,8-diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU). Effect of operating parameters and a second oxidant injection point”, Proc. International Solvothermal & Hydrothermal Association Event, Texas, January 13 – 16, 2013.

Alsoqyani, F., Kawase, F.; Kings, I.; and Al-Duri, B., (SCWO) for Hazardous Waste Destruction: Enhanced Removal of N-Containing Hydrocarbons by Using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA)”, Proc. 10th EU meeting on supercritical fluids and their applications, University of Salerno, Naples, Italy, April 29 – May 5, 2013.

Al-Duri, B., Kings, I., Garcia-Jarana, M.B. and Portela, J.R., “SCWO of Hydrocarbon-Contaminated Waters: Continuous Systems with Split-Entry Oxidant”, Proc. ISSF2012, San Francisco, May 12-16, 2012.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J. and Al-Duri, B.; Study of a multivariable coordinate control for a supercritical power plant process, 17th International Conference on Automation and Computing (ICAC), 10-10 Sept. (2011): 69 – 74.

Mohamed, O.; Wang, J.; Guo, S.; Al-Duri, B.; and Wei, J., Modelling Study Of Supercritical Power Plant And Parameter Identification Using Genetic Algorithms, Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2010 Vol II WCE 2010, June 30 - July 2, 2010, London.

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