Sustainable Chemicals
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Alex Conradie

Chair in Sustainable Chemical Processing, Faculty of Engineering

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Biography

Professor Alex Conradie is the Head of Group for the Bioprocess, Environmental and Chemical Technologies Research Group.

Alex graduated with a BEng (Hons) in chemical engineering from Stellenbosch University in 1995 followed by two formative years working in the industrial gases sector as a production engineer. Having established a firm interest in process control and the associated economic benefits, he returned to Stellenbosch University, completing an MSc and a PhD in chemical engineering with a focus on non-linear process control. During his PhD, Alex was a visiting researcher at the University of Texas at Austin within Computer Science, fostering an abiding interest in optimisation methodologies. Given the challenges presented by the non-linear dynamics associated with bioreactors, Alex returned to industry within the biotechnology sector. He was responsible for the R&D, scale-up and technology transfer for a number of new amino acid production technologies with a particular focus on fermentation cultivation strategies and continuous adsorption processes. Moving to the UK, Alex gained expertise in the biologics sector within senior technical and programme management leadership roles. Returning to industrial biotechnology, Alex led as primary inventor in the creation of the technology platform within a polymer manufacturer's Sustainability Group, geared towards polyamide monomer and alkene production. He spearheaded the establishment of a world-class gas fermentation laboratory and systems biology capability. In the interface between science and engineering, he filled a pivotal role as technology integrator covering process conceptualisation, techno-economic analysis, scale-up, process modelling and process design; collaborating with centres of excellence within the UK, USA and Europe.

Expertise Summary

Alex' primary skills span across industrial biotechnology and chemical engineering:

  • Industrial biotechnology
    • Biochemical pathway design
    • Bioreactor design
    • Continuous adsorption
    • Crystallisation (evaporative & cooling)
    • Fermentation technology development
      • Chemolithotrophic
      • Organoheterotrophic (bacteria & yeast)
      • Fed-batch and continuous cultivation
    • Industrial chromatography
    • Life Cycle Assessment
    • Metabolic engineering
    • Systems biology
  • Chemical engineering
    • Exploratory data analysis
    • Optimisation
    • Process control
    • Process intensification
    • Process modelling
    • Process technology development
    • Scale-up
    • State space representation
    • Techno-economic analysis

Teaching Summary

In collaboration with other members of faculty, Alex has teaching interests across multiple chemical engineering disciplines including:

  • Biotechnology and biochemical engineering
  • Optimisation
  • Process control
  • Project and technology management
  • Techno-economic analysis, including capital and operating cost modelling

Research Summary

Collaborating with colleagues across departments, Alex' principal research interests lie in:

  • C1 feedstock exploitation in biochemical processes, optimising mass transfer in novel reactor designs
  • Sustainable development, connecting industrial and agricultural waste streams to value-adding products
  • Synergistic integration between biochemical and chemical conversion
  • Creation of carbon efficient non-natural biochemical pathways towards value-adding products
  • Economic downstream process development, particularly incorporating continuous adsorption and crystallisation unit operations
  • Metabolic engineering, leveraging systems biology
  • Spectroscopy-enabled bioreactor process control

Recent Publications

World-class research at the University of Nottingham

University Park
Nottingham
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+44 (0) 115 951 5151
research@nottingham.ac.uk

Athena Swan Silver Award