David R. Shonnard

David R. Shonnard


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  • Professor, Chemical Engineering
  • Richard and Bonnie Robbins Chair in Sustainable Materials
  • Director, Sustainable Futures Institute
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis (1991)
  • MS in Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis (1985)
  • BS in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno (1983)


My teaching interests are in chemical engineering transport / unit operations, advanced transport phenomena, biochemical processes, green engineering, and sustainable engineering.

Research interests are in the areas of sustainability of the chemical industry, environmental life-cycle assessments, environmental transport processes, and forest-based biofuel process technology development.

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 acid catalyzed hydrolysis of woody biomass.  Thermochemical process engineering includes micropyrolysis and pilot-scale fast pyrolysis.  Biomass feedstocks include forest biomass, forest residuals, municipal solid waste,  forest products wastewater streams, energy crops (hybrid poplar, switchgrass, willow), and residuals from the agricultural sector (corn stover, cane bagasse, rice straw).

Links of Interest

Research Interests

  • Bioprocess engineering
  • Alternative energy/Biofuels
  • 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.
  • Allen, D.T., and Shonnard, D.R., “Sustainable Engineering: Concepts, Design, and Case Studies”, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2012, pp 223.

Education Articles

  • Allen, D.T., Shonnard, D.R., Huang, Y., Schuster, D. 2016, Green Engineering Education in Chemical Engineering Curricula: A Quarter Century of Progress and Prospects for Future Transformations, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 4 (11), pp 5850–585410.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01443.
  • Allen, D.T., Shonnard, D.R., (2012), Sustainability in chemical engineering education: Identifying a core body of knowledge, AIChE Journal, 58(8), 2296-2302, August 2012.
  • Shonnard, D.R., Allen, D.T., Nguyen, N., and Austin, S., 2003, Green Engineering Education Through a US EPA/Academia Collaboration,Environmental Science and Technology, 37(23), 5253-5462.
  • Shonnard, D.R., Fisher, E.R., and Caspary, D., 2003, Integrated Bioprocess Experiments for the Senior Laboratory: Fermentation for L-Lysine Production, Chemical Engineering Education, 37(4),262-267.
  • Shonnard, D.R., Allen, D.T., Weil-Austin. S.A., Nguyen, N., 2003, US EPA/academia collaboration for a Green Engineering textbook for Chemical Engineering, Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy5(4-3), 226-231.
  • Allen, D.T. and Shonnard, D.R., 2001, Green engineering: Environmentally conscious design of chemical processes and products, AIChE Journal,47(9), 1906-1910.
  • Shonnard, D.R. and Deshpande, P.A., 2001, Column transport experiments for dissolved pollutants and colloids, Chemical Engineering Education,35(3), 222-228.

Research Articles

  • Handler, R., Shi, R., Shonnard, D.R., 2017, Land-use Change Implications for Large-scale Cultivation of Algae Feedstocks in the United States Gulf Coast, Journal of Cleaner Production, 153, 15-25.
  • Shi, R., Ukaew, S., Archer, D.W., Pearlson, M., Lewis, K.C., Shonnard, D.R., 2017, Life Cycle Water Footprint Analysis for Rapeseed Derived Jet Fuel ;in North Dakota, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 5, 3845-3854.
  • Klemetsrud, B., Eatherton, D., Shonnard, D.R., 2017, Effects of lignin content and temperature on the properties of hybrid poplar bio-oil, char, and gas obtained by fast pyrolysis, Energy & Fuels, 31, 2879-2886.
  • Winjobi, O., Zhou, W., Kulas, D., Nowicki, J., Shonnard, D.R., (2017) Production of hydrocarbon fuel using two-step torrefaction and fast pyrolysis of pine. Part 2: Life-cycle carbon footprint ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 5 (6), pp 4541–4551 DOI:10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b00373.
  • Winjobi, O., Shonnard, D.R., Zhou, W., (2017) Production of hydrocarbon fuel using two-step torrefaction and fast pyrolysis of pine. Part 1: Techno-economic analysis, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering,5 (6), pp 4529–4540 DOI:10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b00372.
  • Klemetsrud, B., Ukaew, S, Thompson, V.C., Thompson, D.N., Klinger, J., Li, L. Eatherton, D., Puengprasert, P., Shonnard, D.R., (2016) Characterization of products from fast micro-pyrolysis of municipal solid waste (MSW) biomass, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 4 (10), pp 5415–5423,DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b00610.
  • Brooks, K.P., Snowden-Swan, L.J., Jones, S.B., Butcher, M.G., Lee, G.-S.J., Anderson, D.M., Frye, J.G., Halladay, J.G., Owen, J., Harmon, L., Burton, F. Palou-Rivera, I., Handler, R.M., Shonnard, D.R. (2016) Chapter 6: Low Carbon Aviation Fuel Through the Alcohol to Jet Pathway: Feedstocks, Technology, and Implementation, Editor Christopher Chuck, Academic Press, pg. 390.
  • Gracida-Alvarez, U.R., Keenan, L.M., Sacramento-Rivero, J.C., Shonnard, D.R., (2016) Resource and Greenhouse Gas Assessments of the Thermochemical Conversion of Municipal Solid Waste in Mexico, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 4 (11), pp 5972–5978 DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01143,
  • Winjobi, O., Shonnard, D.R., Bar Ziv, E., Zhou, W., (2016) Life cycle assessment for greenhouse gas emissions of two-step torrefaction and fast pyrolysis of pine, BioFPR, 10(5), 576–588 DOI: 10.1002/bbb.1660.
  • Ukaew, S; Shi, R; Lee, JH; Archer, D; Pearlson, M; Lewis, K; Bregni, L; Shonnard, D; Full Chain Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gases and Energy Demand for Canola-Derived Jet Fuel in North Dakota, United States, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, in print April, 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b00276.