Ning Sun, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Ning leads projects in ABPDU involving biomass pretreatment, enzymatic saccharification, and product recovery. Ning’s research is devoted to biomass processing for production of renewable fuels and chemicals, which includes process design, optimization, and scale-up. Her research also includes characterization and evaluation of the solid and liquid streams from the biomass pretreatment process and development of integrated processes for biomass conversion. With vast experience at the forefront of advancements in novel biomass conversion pathways, Ning’s projects include the use of ionic liquids for biomass conversion.


  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Alabama
  • M.A. in Applied Chemistry, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Henan University

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • Graduate Research Assistant, University of Alabama
  • Triage Team Member, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Alabama
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Patents, Awards & Recognition

  • Sugar Extraction and Ionic Liquid Recycling Using Alkaline Solution.: U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/641, 834. 2012
  • Ionic Liquid Systems for the Processing of Biomass, their Components and/or Derivatives, and Mixtures Thereof. U.S. Provisional Patent Application Field February 19, 2008. PCT Int Appl. (2009), WO 2009105236 A1 20090827.

Notable Papers and Publications

  • “Understanding pretreatment efficacy of four cholinium and imidazolium ionic liquids by chemistry and computation,” Green Chemistry (2014).
  • “Production and extraction of sugars from switchgrass hydrolyzed in ionic liquids,” Biotechnology for Biofuels (2013).
  • “Recovery of Sugars from Ionic Liquid Biomass Liquor by Solvent Extraction,” BioEnergy Research (2010).
  • “Use of Polyoxometalate Catalysts in Ionic Liquids to Enhance the Dissolution and Delignification of Woody Biomass,” ChemSusChem (2010).

Professional Memberships & Certifications

  • Reviewer for Biotechnology Progress, Carbohydrate Research, Carbohydrate Polymers, Green Chemistry, RSC Advances, Chemical Communications, Energy & Environmental Science, Journal of Material Chemistry
  • Member, Society of Industrial Microbiology
  • Member, American Chemical Society
  • Member, Materials Research Society