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Chemical Engineering Department Welcomes Dr. Justinus Satrio

The Chemical Engineering department welcomed Dr. Justinus Satrio as its newest full-time Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering this summer. An expert in biomass conversion, Dr. Satrio offers opportunities for students and faculty to explore new areas of research that support the College’s focus on sustainability in engineering.

“I’m thrilled to join the Chemical Engineering department and be involved in the interdepartmental sustainable engineering program, where the intersection of engineering, societal responsibility, and sustainability serves as a guiding principle for teaching and research,” says Dr. Satrio.

Dr. Satrio’s research is focused on the development of process technologies to convert biomass materials for the production of energy, chemicals, and fuels. Biomass is the only renewable source of organic carbon currently on Earth that, when used efficiently and optimally, can significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels in meeting energy needs. Dr. Satrio’s research team uses catalytic and non-catalytic thermochemical processes to convert biomass into a liquid form, called bio-crude oil (BCO), which is easier to transport and handle. Like fossil crude oil, BCO then can be used as feedstock for many end applications.

“Sustainable engineering is not all about finding the best technologies. I hope to collaborate with researchers from various fields, such as plant and agricultural science, economics, and environment,” says Dr. Satrio “I also would like to seek international collaborations, particularly in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, where biomass materials are plentiful and have great potential to help people meet energy needs, particularly in rural areas.”

Dr. Satrio comes to Villanova from Iowa State University, where he received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering and managed research projects at its Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies. Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, Dr. Satrio worked as a chemical process engineer for three years in Missouri and then in his home country, Indonesia.

This fall, Dr. Satrio is teaching Climate Change and Sustainability and a course on contemporary topics of technology and society. He is also developing a state-of-the-art laboratory to study the best methods for converting biomass materials into energy and useful chemicals. The lab will be funded in part by a $100,000 Keystone Innovation Starter Kit grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, secured by the College of Engineering over the summer.

He also serves as a faculty advisor to three graduate students: Justin Yeash ChE ‘09, Laura-Ann Chin, and Rene Garrido.

  • A second-year MS student in sustainable engineering, Yeash uses pyrolysis processes to convert solid wastes from a local mushroom farm into bio-char and BCO.
  • Chin is a first-year chemical engineering MS student who is developing methods to determine the physical and chemical characteristics of BCO produced from fast pyrolyzing biomass materials.
  • Garrido is a PhD candidate from Universidad de Santiago de Chile as part of the College’s memorandum of understanding to help USACH train the next generation of its faculty. He studies the reactions involved in biomass fast pyrolysis to gain a better understanding of how to control the yield distribution of fast pyrolysis products. After the completion of his degree, Garrido will return to USACH to join the faculty there.


Dr. Justinus Satrio, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
Dr. Justinus Satrio, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering