Photo of Calvin Mukarakate

Calvin Mukarakate

Senior Process Research Scientist

Orcid ID

Dr. Calvin Mukarakate is a Senior Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). His research focuses on catalytic upgrading of lignocellulosic biomass into fuels and chemicals. He serves in the Technical Advisory Committee for the Symposium on Thermal and Catalytic Sciences for Biofuels and Biobased Products. He is also a Steering Committee member of Chemical Catalysis for Bioenergy, an Energy Materials Network consortium.

Research Interests

  • Production of transportation fuels from biomass pyrolysis vapors

  • Selective conversion of biomass pyrolysis vapors to form monomers for renewable polymers

  • Production of hydrogen and chemical intermediates from pyrolysis aqueous waste streams

  • Coprocessing bio-oil with petroleum-derived feeds

Affiliated Research Programs

Areas of Expertise

  • Catalyst fast pyrolysis of biomass to produce transportation fuels and chemicals

  • Reforming pyrolysis aqueous waste streams to process hydrogen, hydrocarbon fuels, and chemicals

  • Flash pyrolysis of biomass using an advanced captive sample reactor (wire mesh)

  • Laser ablation time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the analysis of biomass materials

  • Photoionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry for studying the pyrolysis of biomass model compounds


  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Marquette University, 2008

  • B.Sc., Honors Mining Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, 2003

Professional Experience

  • Senior Scientist, NREL, 2015–present

  • Thermochemical Conversion Scientist, NREL, 20112015

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, NREL, 20082011

Featured Publications

  1. "Improving Biomass Pyrolysis Economics by Integrating Vapor and Liquid Phase Upgrading,” Green Chemistry (2018)

  2. "Integrated Biorefining: Coproduction of Renewable Resol Biopolymer for Aqueous Stream Valorization," ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng. (2017)

  3. "Characterization and Catalytic Upgrading of Aqueous Stream Carbon from Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass," ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng. (2017)

  4. "Deactivation of multilayered MFI nanosheet zeolite during upgrading of biomass pyrolysis vapors," ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. (2017)

  5. "Supported molybdenum oxides are effective catalysts for the catalytic fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass," Green Chem. (2016)

  6. "Influence of crystal allomorph and crystallinity on the products and behavior of cellulose during fast pyrolysis," ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. (2016)

  7. "Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass: The Reactions of Water and Aromatic Intermediates Produces Phenols," Green Chemistry (2015)

  8. "Molybdenum Incorporated Mesoporous Silica Catalyst for Production of Biofuels and Value-added Chemicals via Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis," Green Chemistry (2015)

  9. "Unimolecular Thermal Decomposition of Dimethoxybenzenes," Journal of Chemical Physics (2014)

  10. "Real-Time Monitoring of the Deactivation of HZSM-5 During Upgrading of Pine Pyrolysis Vapors," Green Chemistry (2014)

  11. "Upgrading Biomass Pyrolysis Vapors over β-Zeolites: Role of Silica-to-Alumina Ratio," Green Chemistry (2014)

  12. "Biomass Pyrolysis: Thermal Decomposition Mechanisms of Furfural and Benzaldehyde," Journal of Chemical Physics (2013)

  13. "Unimolecular Thermal Decomposition of Phenol and d5-Phenol: Direct Observation of Cyclopentadiene Formation via Cyclohexadienone," Journal of Chemical Physics (2012)

  14. "Thermal Decomposition Mechanisms of the Methoxyphenols: Formation of Phenol, Cyclopentadienone, Vinylacetylene, and Acetylene," Journal of Physical Chemistry A (2011)

  15. "Laser Ablation with Resonance-Enhanced Multiphoton Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry for Determining Aromatic Lignin Volatilization Products from Biomass," Review of Scientific Instruments (2011)

View all NREL Publications for Calvin Mukarakate.

Please contact me with research questions and ideas for collaborations. 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.