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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Michael Jie


Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Room Number: Joseph Priestley Building, Room G.08


Dr Michael Xiangyu Jie is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry. He completed his DPhil in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford and continued his research in the group of Prof Peter Edwards FRS ML as a PDRA before being elected as a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) at Merton College, University of Oxford. His research has been primarily focused on the development of 'microwave-initiated heterogeneous catalysis,' which has led to sustainable catalytic processes for hydrogen production, plastic waste upcycling, and carbon dioxide utilisation. Dr Jie's expertise and research interests encompass a wide range of topics, including plastic waste upcycling, hydrogen technology, fossil fuel decarbonization, and carbon-neutral technologies. His research has also led to the development of several innovative technologies that have been granted global patents through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). These advances have attracted interest from the wide chemical community.

JOIN the Group! Dr Jie's research group is expanding and welcomes applications from motivated and enthusiastic students and postdocs keen to engage in cutting-edge research in the fields of catalysis and clean technology. We provide a dynamic, interdisciplinary work environment with global collaborations. If you are interested in joining us as a postdoc, PhD, or Masters student, please contact Dr Michael Jie at We also offer support to potential applicants through various scholarships and fellowships


Research Interests:

My primary area of research centres on the investigation of the complex interaction between a heterogeneous metal catalyst system and a microwave-induced electric field, and its applications for CO2-free hydrogen production and plastics waste recycling. 

  • Microwave-initiated heterogeneous catalysis

We show that the fundamental difference and advance of using microwaves is due to the fact that catalyst particles play two roles simultaneously in the catalytic process under microwave irradiation; First, there is efficient energy transfer from the incoming microwave electromagnetic radiation to initiate the physical heating process (driving force) of the catalyst particle. Secondly, the ensuing catalytic reaction at the particle surface occurs when the particle reaches the necessary temperature. When microwaves interact with catalyst particles, heat is rapidly generated throughout the catalyst particles themselves (these particles have physical dimensions below the characteristic microwave skin depth at the operating frequencies). Moreover, since the microwave heating is itself a function of the electrodynamic properties of the catalyst (i.e. the charge dynamics associated with the susceptibility of the catalyst material), electromagnetic heating is closely connected to the material properties which dictates the heating rate – thereby influencing accompanying the catalytic processes. 

  • Clean hydrogen production from fossil fuels

We utilise microwave to initiate chemical reactions that selectively breaks C-H bonds in fossil hydrocarbons (include crude oil, diesel and petrol etc.) to produce high-purity hydrogen through the so-called microwave-initiated catalytic dehydrogenation reactions. We have achieved a H2 selectivity from all evolved gases of some 98%, with less than a fraction of a percent of adventitious CO and CO2. Thus, rather than burning hydrocarbons, our vision is to extract high purity, elemental hydrogen, in high yield, from fossil fuels. We hope that this can assist in the transition to a new scientific and technological era of 'Fossil fuels decarbonisation' as a steppingstone to a true low-carbon energy future. 

  • Turning plastics waste to clean hydrogen and high-value carbon materials

We have developed a new, innovative process for the deconstruction of waste -plastic to produce high purity hydrogen fuel and valuable carbon nano-materials. It is based on a novel catalyst system initiated by microwave energy, achieving the rapid release of high-purity hydrogen directly from plastic waste, with the co-product of solid carbon being recycled into value-added materials or oherwise sequestered in perpetuity. 

We stand at the beginning of a new era for the utilisation of plastics-waste to generate an economically – sustainable and scalable process for generating hydrogen and high-value carbon materials. This is once in a generation opportunity to utilise plastics waste as a resource – a treasure trove – in a new, sunrise industry.

  • Upcycling of plastics waste: towards a circular economy of plastics 

We developed an innovative process and novel catalysts for chemically recycling the plastics waste, which types of plastics are difficult to be recycled mechanically, back to its constituent monomers and value added chemicals. The process achieves 100% conversion with high selectivity to monomers directly from plastics waste.

This new process allows an inspiring vision of a truly Circular Economy for plastics, which not only minimize environmental pollution but also reduce our dependence on non-renewable etrochemicals for plastics production.

  • Direct CO2 utilisation for C2+ chemicals synthesis

The utilisation or conversion of CO2 into sustainable, synthetic fuels and high value-added chemicals has attracted growing worldwide interest due to the mounting concerns over climate change. These offer considerable potential since they contribute to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the global economy's sustainable growth.

In our early work, we have designed a novel catalyst system used in conventional thermal processes to convert CO2 directly into long-chain hydrocarbons (synthetic aviation fuels). Further research on the selective production of various C2+ chemicals from CO2 and H2 is planned using microwave-initiated catalysis.


  • Yuxin Wang, Tara Biddle, Changle Jiang, Thang Luong, Roujia Chen, Sean Brown, Xiangyu Jie* and Jianli Hu. “Microwave-Driven Upcycling of Single-Use Plastics using Zeolite catalyst.” Chemical Engineering Journal (2023), 465, 142918.
  • Xiangyu Jie*, Roujia Chen, Tara Biddle, Daniel R. Slocombe, Jonathan R. Dilworth, Tiancun Xiao and Peter P. Edwards. "Size-Dependent Microwave Heating and Catalytic Activity of Fine Iron Particles in the Deep Dehydrogenation of Hexadecane.” Chemistry of Materials (2022), 34(10), 4682-4693.
  • Xiangyu Jie, Weisong Li, Daniel R. Slocombe, Yige Gao, Ira Banerjee, Sergio Gonzalez‐Cortes, Benzhen Yao, Hamid A. Al‐Megren, Saeed Alshihri, Jonathan R. Dilworth, John M. Thomas, Tiancun Xiao and Peter P. Edwards. "Microwave-initiated Catalytic Deconstruction of Plastic Waste into Hydrogen and High-value Carbon." Nature Catalysis (2020), 3(11), 902-912.
  • Benzhen Yao, Tiancun Xiao, Ofentse A. Makgae, Xiangyu Jie, Sergio Gonzalez‐Cortes, Shaoliang Guan, Angus Kirkland, Jonathan Dilworth, Hamid A. Al‐Megren, Saeed Alshihri, John M. Thomas and Peter P. Edwards. " Transforming Carbon Dioxide into Jet Fuel using an Organic Combustion-Synthesized Fe-Mn-K Catalyst" Nature Communication(2020), 11(1), 1-12.
  • Weisong Li, Xiangyu Jie, Changzhen Wangy, Jonathan R. Dilworth, Chunjian Xu, Tiancun Xiao, Peter P. Edwards. "MnOx-Promoted, Coking-Resistant Nickel-based Catalysts for Microwave-initiated CO2Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research(2020), 59(15), 6914-6923.
  • Yige Gao, Xiangyu Jie, Changzhen Wang, Robert MJ Jacobs, Weisong Li, Benzhen Yao, Jonathan R Dilworth, Tiancun Xiao, Peter P Edwards. "One-Pot Synthesis of Ca Oxide-Promoted Cr Catalysts for the Dehydrogenation of Propane Using COIndustrial & Engineering Chemistry Research(2020), 59(28), 12645-12656.
  • Xiangyu Jie, Sergio Gonzalez‐Cortes, Tiancun Xiao, Benzhen Yao, Jiale Wang, Daniel R. Slocombe, Yiwen Fang, Noah Miller, Hamid A. Al‐Megren, Jonathan R. Dilworth, John M. Thomas, and Peter P. Edwards. "The decarbonization of petroleum and other fossil hydrocarbon fuels for the facile production and safe storage of hydrogen."Energy & Environmental Science (2019), 12(1), 238-249.
  • Xiangyu Jie, et al. "Rapid Production of High‐Purity Hydrogen Fuel through Microwave‐Promoted Deep Catalytic Dehydrogenation of Liquid Alkanes with Abundant Metals."Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2017), 56(34), 10170-10173.
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