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Photo of Esther Wilcox

Esther Wilcox

Research Operations Director - BioEnergy Science & Technology | 303-384-6516

Research Interests

  • Integration and scale-up of biomass to fuels and chemicals

  • Reactor design

Affiliated Research Programs

  • Thermochemical Process Integration, Scale-Up, and Piloting (PI)

  • Process Design, Modeling, and Economics (contributor)

  • Heterogeneous Catalysis for Thermochemical Conversion (collaborator)

  • Feedstocks (collaborator)

  • Computational Modeling (collaborator)

Areas of Expertise

  • Thermochemical pilot plant operations

  • Pilot-scale and process engineering

  • Process safety management

    • Hazard and operability structure

    • Management of change

    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, National Fire Protection Association code compliance

  • Reactor scale-up and validation

  • Heterogeneous catalysis


  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2004

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Tulsa, 1998

Professional Experience

  • Supervisor, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Bioenergy Center, Thermochemical Catalysis Research and Development, 2013–present

  • Advisor, Innovation Center of the Rockies, 20122013

  • Research Scientist, Synkera Technologies, 20092012

  • Research Engineer, Range Fuels Inc., 20072009

  • Research Associate, University of Colorado, 20042007


  1. "Methods for improving syngas-to-alcohol catalyst activity and selectivity," U.S. Patent No. 8,318,986 (2012)

  2. "Methods for improving syngas-to-ethanol catalyst selectivity," U.S. Patent Application No. 20100152498 (2010)

Featured Publications

View all NREL Publications for Esther Wilcox.

Please contact me with research questions, ideas for collaborations, and questions about the Thermochemical Process Integration, Scale-Up, and Piloting program. Please do NOT contact me directly for jobs—see instead information on NREL's Director's Postdoctoral Fellowship program or on NREL Careers in general.