Kecheng Li

Photo of Kecheng Li
Kecheng Li
Chair and Professor
(269) 276-3500
(269) 276-3501
A-217 Floyd Hall, Mail Stop 5462
Mailing address: 
Chemical and Paper Engineering
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5462 USA
  • PhD (2003) in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto
  • BSc (1985), MSc (1988) in Chemical Engineering, Shaanxi University of Science and Technology (1988)

Dr. Kecheng Li joined Western Michigan University in August 2016 as the Chair of the Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering.   Prior to joining WMU, Dr. Li was a Professor and University Research Scholar in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, Canada.  At UNB Dr. Li served as the Director of Graduate Studies for ten years and served on several university committees. He is is the recipient of UNB Merit Award (2008) and was appointed University Research Scholar by the UNB Board of Governors in 2011 and then 2016.

Dr. Li's areas of research interests include lignocellulose biorefining for biofuels and biochemicals; nanofibres and advanced biomaterials for flexible electronics and roll-to-roll processing; green and clean manufacturing technologies; state-of-the-art surface and nanoscale techniques; and pulp and paper manufacturing technologies.  Dr. Li’s research has been strongly supported by Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-Discovery, -Strategic, -CRD; Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF); New Brunswick Innovation Fund (NBIF); MatNet; and by a number of industry leaders such as Resolute Forest Products, Novozymes, Andritz, West Fraser, Paper Excellence.

Dr. Li and his students have authored more than 100 refereed papers and book chapters, and delivered numerous conference presentations. He has developed several proprietary technologies with six US patents awarded.  Dr. Li has been invited by universities and research institutes around the world to give seminars in e.g., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, Korean, and USA. He is currently serving as an executive editor, editorial board member and a guest editor for four journals and is a regular reviewer for more than 50 academic journals in North America and Europe in bioenergy, chem-eng, materials science, nano-technologies, surface sciences, environmental, and pulp and paper fields. He is also an external reviewer for NSF (USA), KKS (Sweden), and CFI, NSERC (Canada).  In addition to his academic work, Dr. Li has been serving the industry as a technical consultant, and is a scientific advisor for two technology companies. 

Dr. Li has been admitted as a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), and has been invited to serve on the NSERC Discovery Grant EG Committee, and on the Research Excellence Program Panel of the Ontario Research Fund. He is also honored with Honorary Professor title at Guangxi University and Shaanxi University of Science and Technology.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Zhang, J., Fu, J., Song, X., Li, K., Chen, Z., “Laminated Cross-linked Nanocellulose/Graphene Oxide Electrolyte for Flexible Rechargeable Zinc-Air Batteries”, Advanced Energy Materials, DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201600476 (2016)

  2. Fougere, D, Clarke, Nada, S. Kozinski, J., Li, K., “Effect of acidic pretreatment on the chemistry and distribution of lignin in aspen wood and wheat straw substrates”, Biomass and Bioenergy, in press (2016)

  3. Fu, J., Zhang, J. Song, X., Zarrin, H., Tian, X., Qiao, J., Rasen L., Li, K., Chen, Z.“A flexible solid-state electrolyte for wide-scale integration of rechargeable zinc-air batteries”, Energy and Environmental Science, DOI: 10.1039/c5ee03404c (2015)

  4. Nie, S., Song, X., Ebonka, J. Li, K. “Removal of Hexenuronic Acid by Xylanase to Reduce Adsorbable Organic Halides Formation in Chlorine Dioxide Bleaching of Bagasse Pulp” Bioresource Technology, 196, 413-417 (2015)

  5. Fougere, D, Clarke, K, Zhao, Y., Li, K., “Chemical-mechanical pretreatment of wood: reducing downsizing energy and increasing enzymatic digestibility” Biomass and Bioenergy, 80 (9)17-29 (2015)

  6. Hu, C., Zhu, J., Li, K. “Optimizing cellulose fibrillation for production of nanofibrils by a disk grinder", Holzforschung, 69(8):993-1000 (2015)

  7. Fougere, D., Zhao Y., Zhao, J., Zheng, Y., Li, K., “Combination of a two-stage dilute acid pretreatment with disc refiner technology for the production of biofuels from softwood”, J Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes: 4(2):11-18 (2015)

  8. Kimmy Clarke, Kecheng Li, “Chapter3: The Heterogeneous Degradation Of The Morphological Structure Of Lignocellulose During Enzymatic Saccharification, in Lignocellulose: Biotechnology, Chemical Composition and Future Prospects” Nova Science Publishers, 2015

  9. Qin, C., Clarke, K., Li, K., “ Interactive forces between biomass lignin and cellulases determined by atomic force microscopy”, Biotechnology for Biofuels: 7(1): 65-74 (2014)

  10. Pelletier, A., Li, K., Fairbank, M., Court, G., Frith, M., “Enzymatic pretreatment of wood chips for energy savings in TMP refining”, J Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes:  4(1):34-49 (2014) This paper is awarded The Douglas Atack Best Paper Award by Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada, Feb 2015

  11. Fougere, D., Zhao Y., Zhao, J., Zheng, Y., Li, K., “Combination of a two-stage dilute acid pretreatment with disc refiner technology for the production of biofuels from softwood”, J Science and Technology for Forest Products and Processes: Vol4 (2):11-18 (2015)

  12. Fougere, J.D., Lynch, M., Clarke, K., Zhao, J., Zheng, Y., Li, K., “The impact of mechanical downsizing on the physical structure and digestibility of hardwood biomass”, Energy and Fuels: 28(4):2645-2653 (2014) This paper is featured as Key Scientific Article online on Renewable Energy Global Innovations {ISSN 2291-2460}, Feb 2015

  13. Zhang, C., Lei, X.C., Scott, C.T., Zhu, J.Y., Li, K., “Comparison of dilute acid and sulfite pretreatment for enzymatic saccharification of earlywood and latewood of Douglas fir”, Bioenergy Resources: 7(1), 362 – 370 (2014)

  14. Wang, Y., Zheng, Y., Li, K., Pelletier, A., “Effects of solvents and catalysts in liquefaction of pinewood sawdust for the production of bio-oils and bioenergy”, Biomass and Bioenergy: 59, 158 - 167  (2013)

  15. Jin, W., Tolba, R., Wen, J., Li, K., Chen, A., “Efficient extraction of lignin from black liquor via a novel membrane-assisted electrochemical approach”, Electrochimica Acta: 107, 611-618 (2013)

  16. Pelletier, A., Li, K., Zhao, Y., Court, G., Luo, J., Frith, M., “Improvement of enzyme transport in wood chips for thermomechanical pulp refining ”, Carbohydrate Polymers: 95, 25- 31 (2013)

  17. Yan, D., Li, K., "Conformability of wood fibre surface determined by AFM indentation", Journal of Materials Science:  48, 322-331 (2013)

  18. Pelletier, A., Zhao, Y., Lei, X., and Li, K., "Improved fiber separation and energy reduction in thermomechanical pulp refining using enzyme-pretreated wood," BioResources: 8(3), 3385-3398 (2013)

  19. Clarke, K., Lei, X., Huang, F., Li, K., “The analysis of lignocelluloses fiber structural changes throughout enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis using atomic force microscopy”. J. Bioprocess Engineering & Biorefinery, 2(3), 171 – 181 (2013)

  20. Yan, D., Li, K., “Evaluation of interfiber bonding in wood pulp fibers by chemical force microscopy”. J. Materials Science Research: 2 (1), 23-33 (2013)

  21. Wang, Y., Wang H., Lin, H., Pelletier, A., Zheng, Y., Li, K., “Liquefaction of pinewood in supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2)”. Current Organic Chemistry: 17 (15): 1596-1603 (2013)

  22. Liu, W., Hou, Q., Mao, C., Yuan, Z., Li, K., "Hemicelluloses prior to aspen chemithermomechanical pulping: pre-extraction, separation and characterization", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:  60(19), 4880-4885 (2012)

  23. Yang, Q., Pan, X., Clarke, K., Li, K., “Covalent functionalization of graphene with polysaccharides”, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research: 51, 310-317 (2012)

  24. Li, X., Clarke, K., Fougere, J.D., Li, K., Chen, A., “Accelerated hydrolysis rate due to fiber cutting throughout enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis”. Journal of Bioprocess Engineering and Biorefinery: 1(1), 77-85 (2012)

  25. Li, X., Clarke, K., Li, K., Chen, A., “The pattern of cell wall deterioration in lignocellulose fibers throughout enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis”. Biotechnology Progress: 28(6): 1389-1399 (2012)

  26. Liu, W., Hou, Q., Mao, C., Yuan, Z., Li, K., “Effect of hemicelluloses pre-extraction on the properties and bleachability of aspen chemi-thermomenchanical pulp”, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research: 51,11122-11127 (2012)

  27. Lei, X., Zhao, Y., Pelletier, A., Li, K., “Improved surface properties of CTMP fibers with enzymatic pretreatment of wood chips prior to refining”. Cellulose: 19 (6): 2205-2215 (2012)

  28. Li, X., Luo, X., Li, K, Zhu, J.Y., Fougere, J.D., Clarke, K., “Effects of SPORL and dilute acid pretreatment on substrate morphology, cell physical and chemical wall structures and subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis of lodge pole pine”.  Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology: 168 (6): 1556-67 (2012)

  29. Yang, Q., Pan, X., Huang, F., Li, K.,  “Synthesis and characterization of cellulose fibers grafted with hyperbranched poly(3-methyl-3-oxetanemethanol)”, Cellulose: 18:1611–1621 (2011)

  30. Liu, W., Yuan, Z., Mao, C., Hou, Q., Li, K., “Extracting hemicelluloses prior to aspen chemi-thermomechanical pulping: effects of pre-extraction on pulp properties”, Carbohydrate Polymers: 87, 322-327 (2012)

  31. Clarke, K., Li, X., and Li, K., “The mechanism of fibre cutting during cellulosic hydrolysis”, Biomass and Bioenergy: 35, 3943-3950 (2011)

  32. Xu, Y., Zhang, M., Li, K., “Lignin reprecipitation on ethanol pulp fibres determined with AFM and XPS”, APPITA JOURNAL:  64(3) 3, 278-283 (2011)

  33. Liu, W., Yuan, Z., Mao, C., Hou, Q., Li, K., “Removal of hemicelluloses by alkaline pre-extraction of aspen chips prior to mechanical pulping”, Bioresources: 6(3), 3469-3480  (2011)

  34. Zhang, S., Zhang, M., Li, K., “Adhesion force between aramid fibres and aramid fibrid by AFM”, Polymer Bulletins: 66, 351-362 (2011)

  35. Liu, J., Chen, Z., Zhao, X., Wang, H., Li, K., “Elasto-plastic analysis of the influence of bond deformability on the mechanical behaviour of 3D fiber networks”, Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics: 55, 131-139 (2011)

  36. Yang, Q., Pan, X., Huang, F., Li, K., “Fabrication of high-concentration and stable aqueous suspensions of graphene nanosheets by noncovalent fictionalization with lignin and cellulose derivatives”, J. Physical Chemistry C: 114, 3811-3816 (2010)

  37. Li, K., Lei.,X., Camm, C., “Surface characterization and surface modification of mechanical pulp fibres”, Pulp Paper Canada: 111 (1-2), T11-T16 (2010)

  38. Yuan, Z., Gao, Y., Li, K., “Understanding the chemical pretreatment on properties of aspen CTMP”, Pulp Paper Canada: 112(3), T10-15 (2010)

  39. Zhang, S., Zhang, M., Li, K., “Adhesion characteristics of aramid fibres-fibrids in a sheet calendering process”, APPITA J:  63(1), 58-64 (2010)

  40. Liu, J.X., Chen, Z.T., Li, K., “A 2-D lattice model for simulating the failure of paper”, Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics: 54, 1-10 (2010)