Imperial College (Imperial)

Location : London / United Kingdom
Leader : Richard MURPHY
Website :


Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research that attracts 11,500 students and 6,000 staff. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions to enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. In the Division of Biology we have a long experience of specialist research and training on aspects of wood and plant fibre materials including anatomy, ultrastructure and cell wall development, durability against fungal and insect pests and methods of conversion to energy products. Richard Murphy undertakes research on cell wall structure, mechanical property and biodeterioration/pre-processing of plant fibre and woody materials. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used to investigate the environmental impact of plant-based material and energy sources. He has led multi-partner EC R&D projects, UK national research projects with public research bodies and industry and is a member of Programme Advisory Committee of the National Non-Food Crops Centre. He is a Board Member of the Imperial College London Energy Futures Laboratory.


Conduct environmental Life Cycle Assessments of biofuel production from poplar feedstock in order to evaluate the sustainability benefits available from optimised biomass production and supply chains. A second activity will be to conduct laboratory assays of poplar wood saccharification and ethanol yield potential using in-house assays as a contribution in WP 2.

Staff members’ profile:

Dr Richard Murphy - Senior Lecturer in Biology working on the biology and properties of lignocellulosic plants and fungal decomposition systems. This is complemented with sustainability analyses of plant-based materials and energy using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methods. He has held positions in New Zealand, The Netherlands and in a succession of international collaborative research projects in the EU, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Costa Rica, Colombia and China. He holds research grants from UK research Councils, Dti, Defra, European Commission and industry. He is a member of the Strategy Group of the National Non-Food Crops Centre, the EPOBIO Consortium Advisory Board, a Theme Leader in the ICL/GT/ORNL AtlanTICC Alliance, Past President of the Institute of Wood Science and member of British Standards Institute (BSi) panels.

Laboratory website :

Dr David Leak – Senior Lecturer in Biology working on applied biocatalysis, metabolic engineering and thermophiles e.g. Geobacillus spp. for bioethanol production.

Dr Jeremy Woods – Research Fellow in ICCEP and the Porter Institute specialising in biofuel supply chain analysis and GHG balances.


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