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Professor Sai Gu

Professor Sai Gu

Professor Sai Gu, FREng

Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering

Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China) 

Professor of Chemical Engineering

Sai dot Gu at warwick dot ac dot uk


Professor Sai Gu is Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China) working closely with Professor Mike Shipman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), to maintain, extend and deepen our relationships with university partners in China, and to pursue opportunities for funding, student mobility, and research and teaching collaboration. Professor Gu has strong connections in China both through his personal research on clean energy and materials research, and at an institutional level. He has led the strategic collaborations with China for his current institution developing transnational education and research programmes and co-ordinating large international collaborative projects. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Association of British Chinese Professors (ABCP) and serves as its Executive Vice President.

Prof Gu obtained a PhD in Material Modelling from the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Professor Graham McCartney. He further pursued this material research with Professor Tian Jian Lu as Post-doc at the University of Cambridge. He was a lecturer at Aston University while working closely with Professor Tony Bridgwater in bioenergy research with focus on biomass fast pyrolysis. He continued to expand his bioenergy research at University of Southampton by developing an extensive international network in Asia, Africa and Europe from biomass resources, processing to product upgrading. He was appointed Chair in Clean Energy at Cranfield University in 2011 in partnership with Peterborough City Council to support the growth of high tech sectors. He subsequently established Centre for Bioenergy and Resource Management with large number of PhD and Post-doc researchers. He joined the University of Surrey as the Head of Chemical Engineering in 2015 and engineered the transformation of the department by substantially increasing its size and strengthening its research. He also led the merge of chemistry and chemical engineering as the Head of School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at University of Surrey.

Professor Gu has an international reputation for clean energy and material research. He has a long track-record of coordinating large collaborative projects with international partners and has successfully won over £10 million in grants from EPSRC, EU, Innovate UK and industry.

Professor Gu is an advocate of digital technologies for chemical engineering, pioneering the development of Industry 6th Sense technologies. He has established the Centre for Connected Plants of the Future to bring together multi-disciplinary expertise cross the University of Surrey, exploring the development of technology-driven innovation for chemical industry. He has been leading the EPSRC project “Stepping towards the industrial 6th sense”.

Research Interests

Bioenergy: biomass thermochemical conversions, biomass fast pyrolysis, catalytic cracking and pyrolysis oil upgrading, plastics to fuel and energy

Carbon capture: structured packing and novel packing materials, novel solvent based capture technology, bioenergy and carbon capture integrated solutions

Materials: thermal spray coating, powder metallurgy, spray forming, atomisation

Digital technology: Industry 4.0, digital twin, autonomous plants, AI and robotics for manufacturing

Here is our exciting work on developing 6th sense technology for digital revolution.

We welcome PhD candidates to join our research team. PhD studentships are available for Chinese students by CSC Scholarships and international students by Chancellor's International Scholarship.

Teaching Interests

Chemical Engineering

Selected Publications

Prof Gu has published 180+ journal papers with over 10,000 citations. The full list can be found at Google Scholar

Projects and Grants

  • (PI) Stepping towards the industrial 6th Sense, EPSRC, 2017-2021
  • (PI) Development of fast pyrolysis based advanced biofuel technologies, EPSRC, 2014-2018
  • (PI) Computational Modelling and Optimisation of Carbon Capture Reactors, EPSRC, 2013-2017
  • (PI) Combined Energy Recovery & CO2 Removal Project, EPSRC, 2015-2016
  • (PI) Collaborative Research in Energy with South Africa:Scale-up modelling to answer "Pyrolysis Challenge", EPSRC, 2009-2013
  • (CoI) Improvements in Gas Turbine Performance via Novel Plasma Spray Coatings offering Protection against Ingested Species, EPSRC, 2014-2017
  • (CoI) Novel low energy plasma/catalytic gas cleaning process to deliver high quality syngas from the gasification of waste biomass, EPSRC, 2015-2018


Process Engineer Job

Exciting opportunities are currently available to work in our spinout company. We are looking for:

  • Graduate or experienced chemical engineer in scaling new process technologies;
  • Demonstratable experience with Aspen Plus, Aspen Hysys;
  • Knowledge of process design and its deliverables (P&ID’s, process datasheets, process schedules).

We will offer competitive salary, share incentive and flexible work from home. Candidates should send an extended CV’s by email.