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Chemical & Biological Processing

Mariefel Olarte

Mariefel Olarte

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Mariefel V. Olarte joined PNNL in 2011 after completing her graduate studies from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering under Prof. Christopher W. Jones and Prof. Pradeep K. Agrawal. Her research is focused on catalytic upgrading of bio-oils to produce hydrocarbons and the analysis of the reactant and product streams. This involves working with teams at PNNL and external collaborators to develop catalyst, process and analytical methods. She has experience in the catalytic conversion of biomass to renewable fuels and chemicals and had worked on aqueous phase reforming of pine, biomass fractionation (aqueous- and ionic liquid-phase acid hydrolysis and lignin depolymerization) and catalytic upgrading of phenolic compounds. Since joining PNNL, she is mainly involved in the catalytic upgrading of pyrolysis oil and characterization of biomass-derived streams. Aside from these, she has also worked on catalytic hydrothermal gasification and hydrothermal liquefaction technologies, oxidative lignin depolymerization as well as in the commissioning a demonstration scale hydrotreater (20L) and distillation systems. Recently, she has interest in machine learning applications in chemistry and chemical processes.

Research Interests

  • Catalytic upgrading of biomass for renewable fuel and chemical production
  • Catalyst synthesis and characterization
  • Analysis of biomass-derived liquid products

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • M.S. Paper Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of the Philippines Los BaƱos

PNNL Publications


  • Olarte M.V., K.O. Albrecht, J.T. Bays, E. Polikarpov, B. Maddi, J.C. Linehan, and M.J. O'Hagan, et al. 2019. "Autoignition and Select Properties of Low Sample Volume Thermochemical Mixtures from Renewable Sources." Fuel 238. PNNL-SA-134830. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2018.10.115
  • Zacher A.H., D.C. Elliott, M.V. Olarte, H. Wang, S.B. Jones, and P.A. Meyer. 2019. "Technology Advancements in Hydroprocessing of Bio-oils." Biomass & Bioenergy 125. PNNL-SA-138596. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2019.04.015


  • Brittain A.D., N.J. Chrisandina, R.E. Cooper, M. Buchanan, J.R. Cort, M.V. Olarte, and C. Sievers. 2018. "Quenching of Reactive Intermediates During Mechanochemical Depolymerization of Lignin." Catalysis Today 302. PNNL-SA-120623. doi:10.1016/j.cattod.2017.04.066
  • Lewis, Sr. S.A., R.M. Connatser, M.V. Olarte, and J. Keiser. 2018. "Determining Aromatic and Aliphatic Carboxylic Acids in Biomass-Derived Oil Samples Using 2,4-Dinitrophenylhydrazine and Liquid Chromatography-Electrospray Injection-Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry." Biomass & Bioenergy 108. PNNL-SA-131788. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.10.043
  • Olarte M.V., J.J. Bravo-Suarez, H. Wang, and F. Tao. 2018. "Preface." Catalysis Today 302. PNNL-SA-138643. doi:10.1016/j.cattod.2017.11.015


  • Eckstein S., P.H. Hintermeier, M.V. Olarte, Y. Liu, E. Barath, and J.A. Lercher. 2017. "Elementary steps and reaction pathways in the aqueous phase alkylation of phenol with ethanol." Journal of Catalysis 352. PNNL-SA-125449. doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2017.06.002
  • Hintermeier P.H., S. Eckstein, D. Mei, M.V. Olarte, D.M. Camaioni, E. Barath, and J.A. Lercher. 2017. "Hydronium-Ion-Catalyzed Elimination Pathways of Substituted Cyclohexanols in Zeolite H-ZSM5." ACS Catalysis 7, no. 11:7822-7829. PNNL-SA-131496. doi:10.1021/acscatal.7b01582
  • Olarte M.V., A.B. Padmaperuma, J. Ferrell, E.D. Christensen, R.T. Hallen, R.B. Lucke, and S.D. Burton, et al. 2017. "Characterization of Upgraded Fast Pyrolysis Oak Oil Distillate Fractions from Sulfided and Non-Sulfided Catalytic Hydrotreating." Fuel 202. PNNL-SA-119855. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.03.051
  • Prodinger S., H. Shi, S. Eckstein, J.Z. Hu, M.V. Olarte, D.M. Camaioni, and M.A. Derewinski, et al. 2017. "Stability of Zeolites in Aqueous Phase Reactions." Chemistry of Materials 29, no. 17:7255-7262. PNNL-SA-123271. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b01847
  • Stankovikj F., A. McDonald, G.L. Helms, M.V. Olarte, and M. Garcia-Perez. 2017. "Characterization of the Water-Soluble Fraction of Woody Biomass Pyrolysis Oils." Energy and Fuels 31, no. 2:1650-1664. PNNL-SA-121870. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b02950
  • Stankovikj F., C. Tran, S. Kaliaguine, M.V. Olarte, and M. Garcia-Perez. 2017. "Evolution of Functional Groups during Pyrolysis Oil Upgrading." Energy and Fuels 31, no. 8:8300-8316. PNNL-SA-125910. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.7b01251


  • Agblevor F., D.C. Elliott, D.M. Santosa, M.V. Olarte, S.D. Burton, M.S. Swita, and S. Beis, et al. 2016. "Red Mud Catalytic Pyrolysis of Pinyon Juniper and Single-Stage Hydotreatment of Oils." Energy and Fuels 30, no. 10:7947-7958. PNNL-SA-122742. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b00925
  • Choi J., A.H. Zacher, H. Wang, M.V. Olarte, B.L. Armstrong, H. Meyer, and I. Soykal, et al. 2016. "Molybdenum carbides, active and in situ regenerable catalysts in hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis bio-oil." Green Chemistry 30, no. 6:5016-5026. PNNL-SA-116507. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b00937
  • Ferrell J., M.V. Olarte, E.D. Christensen, A.B. Padmaperuma, R.M. Connatser, F. Stankovikj, and D. Meier, et al. 2016. "Standardization of Chemical Analytical Techniques for Pyrolysis Bio-oil: History, Challenges, and Current Status of Methods." Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 10, no. 5:496-507. PNNL-SA-123869. doi:10.1002/bbb.1661
  • Jones S.B., L.J. Snowden-Swan, P.A. Meyer, A.H. Zacher, M.V. Olarte, H. Wang, and C. Drennan. 2016. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating: 2015 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017. PNNL-25312. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating: 2015 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017
  • Olarte M.V., A.H. Zacher, A.B. Padmaperuma, S.D. Burton, H.M. Job, T.L. Lemmon, and M.S. Swita, et al. 2016. "Stabilization of Softwood-Derived Pyrolysis Oils for Continuous Bio-oil Hydroprocessing." Topics in Catalysis 59, no. 1:55-64. PNNL-SA-111135. doi:10.1007/s11244-015-0505-7
  • Shangguan J., M.V. Olarte, and Y. Chin. 2016. "Mechanistic Insights on C-O and C-C Bond Activation and Hydrogen Insertion during Acetic Acid Hydrogenation Catalyzed by Ruthenium Clusters in Aqueous Medium." Journal of Catalysis 340. PNNL-SA-115243. doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2016.04.024
  • Wang H., S. Lee, M.V. Olarte, and A.H. Zacher. 2016. "Bio-oil stabilization by hydrogenation over reduced metal catalysts at low temperatures." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 4, no. 10:5533-5545. PNNL-SA-118919. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01270



  • Jones S.B., L.J. Snowden-Swan, P.A. Meyer, A.H. Zacher, M.V. Olarte, and C. Drennan. 2014. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating 2013 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017. PNNL-23294. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating 2013 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017
  • Sudasinghe N., J.R. Cort, R.T. Hallen, M.V. Olarte, A.J. Schmidt, and T. Schaub. 2014. "Hydrothermal Liquefaction Oil and Hydrotreated Product from Pine Feedstock Characterized by Heteronuclear Two-Dimensional NMR Spectroscopy and FT-ICR Mass Spectrometry." Fuel 137. PNNL-SA-102800. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2014.07.069
  • Zacher A.H., D.C. Elliott, M.V. Olarte, D.M. Santosa, F. Preto, and K. Iisa. 2014. "Pyrolysis of Woody Residue Feedstocks: Upgrading of Bio-Oils from Mountain-Pine-Beetle-Killed Trees and Hog Fuel." Energy and Fuels 28, no. 12:7510-7516. PNNL-SA-104767. doi:10.1021/ef5017945
  • Zacher A.H., M.V. Olarte, D.M. Santosa, D.C. Elliott, and S.B. Jones. 2014. "A Review and Perspective of Recent Bio-Oil Hydrotreating Research." Green Chemistry 16, no. 2:885-896. PNNL-SA-96894. doi:10.1039/c3gc41782d


  • Elliott D.C., T.R. Hart, A.J. Schmidt, G.G. Neuenschwander, L.J. Rotness, M.V. Olarte, and A.H. Zacher, et al. 2013. "Process Development for Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae Feedstocks in a Continuous-Flow Reactor." Algal Research 2, no. 4:445-454. PNNL-SA-96121.


  • Elliott D.C., T.R. Hart, G.G. Neuenschwander, L.J. Rotness, M.V. Olarte, A.H. Zacher, and Y. Solantausta. 2012. "Catalytic Hydroprocessing of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil from Pine Sawdust." Energy and Fuels 26, no. 6:3891-3896. PNNL-SA-86336. doi:10.1021/ef3004587
  • Elliott D.C., T.R. Hart, G.G. Neuenschwander, L.J. Rotness, M.V. Olarte, and A.H. Zacher. 2012. "Chemical Processing in High-Pressure Aqueous Environments. 9. Process Development for Catalytic Gasification of Algae Feedstocks." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 51, no. 33:10768-10777. PNNL-SA-87140. doi:10.1021/ie300933w

Chemical & Biological Processing

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