Professor Ray Allen

Emeritus Professor


PhD, FIChemE, FREng, C Sci

I came to Sheffield from the Harwell Laboratory in1995 as part of the nineties AEA Technology diaspora. At AEA I had a number of senior management responsibilities being in charge first of the Separation Processes Service and then HTFS (subsequently absorbed by Hyprotech) and eventually being Business Development Director for AEA Technology.

On arriving at Sheffield, I was the founding head of the newly formed Department of Chemical & Process Engineering. This was a period of intense growth and activity during which we spun off Chemical and Process Engineering as an independent Department, doubled our staff numbers, decided upon our major lines of research and so laid the foundations for much of the current research programme. For the first three and a half years at Sheffield I worked on a one day a week secondment to the DTI´s Innovation Unit. There I led the team that set up an infrastructure to support innovation in London.


My personal research interests began with environmental engineering and now straddle microfluidics, green chemical processes the hydrogen economy and Carbon Dioxide Utilization (CDU). My main focus lies at the chemistry/chemical engineering interface with the aim of developing novel reactors and energy processes. This has included microfluidic devices and projects associated with lab-on-a-chip, plant-on-a-chip and high throughput screening. Nowadays, this microchemical engineering has been increasingly supplemented by work on larger scale energy producing processes, including Thermochemical Cycles and CDU, for massive scale production of hydrogen respectively to fuel the Hydrogen economy and to provide low carbon routes to transport fuels.

Such work focuses on atom efficient chemical engineering processes that are often cyclic. In the case of a thermodynamically adverse reaction such as splitting water to manufacture hydrogen, only water and heat are put into the process and only hydrogen and oxygen are removed. The cycles under study include Sulphur Iodine, Copper chlorine and the Westinghouse hybrid sulphur process. We have a world leading research group in these technologies and our collaborations spread across a broad range of countries including France, Spain, Germany, the US and South Africa.

Activities and distinctions 

In recent years I have acted as a consultant for The Environment Agency, Westinghouse, Samsung, Unilever, Hoover, AEA Technology and the Government Office for London, amongst others.

I am or have recently been:

• Chairman of the EPSRC Panel reporting on the Interface between Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
• Member of the Standing Committee on Education and Training of the Royal Academy of Engineering
• Member of the Proactive Membership Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering
• President of Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC)
• Chairman Communications Working Group, EPC
• Member, Advisory Board Crystal Faraday
• Chairman IChemE whynotchemeng editorial board
• Chairman of the UK Standing Conference of Professors and Heads of Departments of Chemical Engineering
• Member of the Management Committee of the Crystal Faraday
• Co-Chairman of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)and Royal Society of Chemistry Committee on Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Interface
• Member of the Membership Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1996 – 2002)
• Chairman of Membership Panel 4 of the the Royal Academy of Engineering (1999 – 2002)
• Member of many International Conference organising committees
• Member of several editorial boards