David R. Shonnard

David R. Shonnard


Professor, Chemical Engineering

Richard and Bonnie Robbins Chair in Sustainable Materials


Research interests are in the areas of sustainability, life-cycle environmental assessments, environmental transport processes, and forest-based biofuels.

Life Cycle Assessment/Sustainability
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method that allows for a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts for a product or process. The scope of the assessment is over the entire life cycle; starting with extraction of raw materials from the environment manufacturing transportation use in society, recycle, reuse, and final treatment or disposal in the environment. Multiple indicators of environmental impacts are used; for example air greenhouse gasses, water emissions, toxicity, and resource consumption. The purpose of LCA is to compare alternative products or processes that meet the same function. An example might be alternative fuels to meet a specific transportation requirement (conventional gasoline versus ethanol). Studies conducted thus far include a comparison of regional cellulosic feedstocks for ethanol production, green jet from numerous plant oils, pyrolysis-based biofuels and biopower, and forest feedstock supply chain.

Bioproccess Engineering / Renewable Bio-Based Fuels
Research in these areas employ a range of conversion approaches, including molecular biology techniques for enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass and acidcatalyzed hydrolysis of woody biomass, forest products wastewater streams, and residuals from the agricultural sector.

Links of Interest

Research Interests

  • Bioprocess engineering
  • Alternative energy
  • Sustainability


  • Allen, D.T. and Shonnard, D.R. (and other contributors), “Green Engineering: Environmentally Conscious Design of Chemical Processes, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002, pp. 552, ISBN 0-13-061908-6.
  • Jensen, J.R., Brodeur-Campbell, M., Morinelly, J., Gosson, K., Shonnard, D.R., (2010), Effects of Dilute Acid Hydrolysis Conditions on Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Aspen, Balsam, and Switchgrass, Bioresource Technology, 101(7), 2317-2325.
  • Chen, H., Rogers, T.N., Barna, B.A., Shonnard, D.R., 2003, Automating Hierarchical Environmentally-Conscious Design Using Integrated Software: VOC Recovery Case Study, Environmental Progress, 22 (3), 147-160.
  • Morinelly, J.E., Jensen, J.R., Browne, M., Co, T.B., Shonnard, D.R., (2009), Kinetic Characterization of the Formation and Degradation of Xylose Monomer and Oligomer during Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Forests and Switchgrass, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 58, 9877-9884.
  • Holman, P.A., Shonnard, D.R., Holles, J.H., (2009), Using Life Cycle Assessment to Guide Catalysis Research, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 48, 6668- 6674
  • Kalnes, T., Marker, T., Shonnard, D.R., 2007, Green Diesel: A Second Generation Biofuel, International Journal of Chemical Reaction Engineering, 5(article A48), http://www.bepress.com/ijcre/vol5/A48 .
  • Zhang, Q., J.C. Crittenden, D. Shonnard, and J.R. Mihelcic, 2003, "Development and evaluation of an environmental multimedia fate model CHEMGL for the Great Lakes region,“ Chemosphere, 50(10), 1377-1397