Personal profile

Personal profile

I am an experimental chemist in the field of heterogeneous catalysis. My training took place in India, Sweden, France, and the Netherlands, which gives me strong first-hand international experience from exposure to multicultural environments. During my PhD (UT, 2014) I performed a fundamental study of surface chemistry of tailored ceria nanocatalysts. As a postdoc in RUG I shifted focus more towards applications through biomass conversion technologies. Now I want to combine these two expertise knowledge bases by developing tuned heterogeneous catalysts for biomass upgrading.

Research interests

The development of solid catalyst, that is stable in water and display high catalytic activity/product selectivity is currently a major challenge. My research goal is to deliver an atomic-level understanding of structure-performance of solid catalyst in water to serve as a science base for improvement of the performance by investigating its catalytic properties, including acidity/basicity, redox nature, and defect density in water. My research addresses this urgency, as well as having the potential to improve economic viability within the biorefinery vision.


  • Teaching Kinetic & catalysis course (2nd year Bachelor)
  • Supervising Phd/Master and Bachelor students


  • Development and optimization of aqueous phase CO chemisorption technique

  • Structure-performance relationship of cerium oxide for aldol condensation reaction in aqueous phase
  • Tailored (hydrophilic/phobic) supported Pd catalyst for nitrite hydrogenation in aqueous phase: Nitrite reduction kinetics
  • DRIFTS Study: Hydroxyl and CO surface reaction on Rh/ZrO2
  • Investigation of formic acid decomposition in aqueous media on heterogeneous catalyst: Detailed kinetic study
  • Catalytic liquefaction of kraft lignin using economical iron-based catalysts

  • Catalytic hydrolysis of food waste (orange peel) to platform chemicals

  • Catalytic depolymerisation of humins (waste byproduct from C5-C6 biorefineries) using catalytic pyrolysis technology

  • Catalytic hydrotreatment of humins to valuable platform chemicals

  • Surface chemistry of tailored ceria nanoparticles: Interaction with CO and H2O

Education / Academic qualification

PhD, University of Twente

1 Jan 201031 Dec 2013

Master, Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine

1 Aug 200731 Oct 2009

Master, Lulea University of Technology

1 Aug 200731 Oct 2009

External positions

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Groningen

1 Jun 201431 May 2016

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2010 2017

  • 12 Poster
  • 10 Article
  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 PhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT
3 Citations

Catalytic Liquefaction of Humin Substances from Sugar Biorefineries with Pt/C in 2-Propanol

Wang, Y., Agarwal, S. & Heeres, H. J. 3 Jan 2017 In : ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering. 5, 1, p. 469-480 12 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

2 Citations

Catalytic pyrolysis of recalcitrant, insoluble humin byproducts from C6 sugar biorefineries

Agarwal, S., van Es, D. & Heeres, H. J. 1 Jan 2017 In : Journal of analytical and applied pyrolysis. 123, p. 134-143 10 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

1 Citations

Experimental Studies on the Hydrotreatment of Kraft Lignin to Aromatics and Alkylphenolics Using Economically Viable Fe-Based Catalysts

Agarwal, S., Chowdari, R. K., Hita, I. & Heeres, H. J. 6 Mar 2017 In : ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering. 5, 3, p. 2668-2678 11 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle


Exploratory catalyst screening studies on the liquefaction of model humins from C6 sugars

Wang, Y., Agarwal, S., Tang, Z. & Heeres, H. J. 2017 In : RSC advances. 7, 9, p. 5136-5147 12 p.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle


Hydrotreatment of Kraft lignin to valuable biobased chemicals using economically viable Fe-based catalysts

Agarwal, S., Chowdari, R. K., Hita, I. & Heeres, E. 2017

Research output: Other research outputPoster

Afferent Loop Syndrome


Value creation award at the Catchbio meeting (Netherlands)

Shilpa Agarwal (Recipient), Anand Narani (Recipient) & Yann Le Brech (Recipient), 19 Jan 2016


Activities 2012 2012

  • 1 Oral presentation

Morphological mysteries of ceria catalysts: Water Activation

Agarwal, S. (Speaker), Lefferts, L. (Speaker), Barbara Mojet (Speaker)
5 Mar 2012

Activity: Oral presentation