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Chemical and Biological Process Development

Mariefel Olarte

Mariefel Olarte

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Mariefel Olarte joined PNNL in 2011 after completing her graduate studies under the supervision of Christopher W. Jones and Pradeep K. Agrawal from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has experience in catalyst synthesis and characterization as well as in the analysis of thermochemically-processed biomass products. More specifically, Dr. Olarte has experience related to the catalytic conversion of biomass to renewable fuels and chemicals involved working on aqueous phase reforming of pine, biomass fractionation (aqueous- and ionic liquid-phase acid hydrolysis and lignin depolymerization) and catalytic upgrading of phenolic compounds.

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


  • Eckstein S, PH Hintermeier, MV Olarte, Y Liu, E Barath, and JA Lercher. 2017. "Elementary steps and reaction pathways in the aqueous phase alkylation of phenol with ethanol." Journal of Catalysis 352:329-336.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2017.06.002
  • Olarte MV, AB Padmaperuma, J Ferrell, ED Christensen, RT Hallen, RB Lucke, SD Burton, TL Lemmon, MS Swita, G Fioroni, DC Elliott, and C Drennan. 2017. "Characterization of Upgraded Fast Pyrolysis Oak Oil Distillate Fractions from Sulfided and Non-Sulfided Catalytic Hydrotreating." Fuel 202:620-630.  doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2017.03.051
  • Stankovikj F, A McDonald, GL Helms, MV Olarte, and M Garcia-Perez. 2017. "Characterization of the Water-Soluble Fraction of Woody Biomass Pyrolysis Oils." Energy and Fuels 31(2):1650-1664.  doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b02950
  • Stankovikj F, CC Tran, S Kaliaguine, MV Olarte, and M Garcia-Perez. 2017. "Evolution of Functional Groups during Pyrolysis Oil Upgrading." Energy and Fuels 31(8):8300-8316.  doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.7b01251


  • Wang H, SJ Lee, MV Olarte, and AH Zacher. 2016. "Bio-oil stabilization by hydrogenation over reduced metal catalysts at low temperatures." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 4(10):5533-5545.  doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b01270
  • Agblevor F, DC Elliott, DM Santosa, MV Olarte, SD Burton, MS Swita, S Beis, K Christian, and B Sargent. 2016. "Red Mud Catalytic Pyrolysis of Pinyon Juniper and Single-Stage Hydotreatment of Oils." Energy and Fuels 30(10):7947-7958.  doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b00925
  • Choi JS, AH Zacher, H Wang, MV Olarte, BL Armstrong, H Meyer, II Soykal, and V Schwartz. 2016. "Molybdenum carbides, active and in situ regenerable catalysts in hydroprocessing of fast pyrolysis bio-oil." Green Chemistry 30(6):5016-5026.  doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.6b00937
  • Ferrell J, MV Olarte, ED Christensen, AB Padmaperuma, RM Connatser, F Stankovikj, D Meier, and VA Paasikallio. 2016. "Standardization of Chemical Analytical Techniques for Pyrolysis Bio-oil: History, Challenges, and Current Status of Methods." Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 10(5):496-507.  doi:10.1002/bbb.1661
  • Jones SB, LJ Snowden-Swan, PA Meyer, AH Zacher, MV Olarte, H Wang, and C Drennan. 2016. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating: 2015 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017 PNNL-25312, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Olarte MV, AH Zacher, AB Padmaperuma, SD Burton, HM Job, TL Lemmon, MS Swita, LJ Rotness, Jr, GG Neuenschwander, JG Frye, and DC Elliott. 2016. "Stabilization of Softwood-Derived Pyrolysis Oils for Continuous Bio-oil Hydroprocessing." Topics in Catalysis 59(1):55-64.  doi:10.1007/s11244-015-0505-7
  • Shangguan J, MV Olarte, and YHC 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 340:107-121.  doi:10.1016/j.jcat.2016.04.024



  • Jones SB, LJ Snowden-Swan, PA Meyer, AH Zacher, MV Olarte, and C Drennan. 2014. Fast Pyrolysis and Hydrotreating 2013 State of Technology R&D and Projections to 2017PNNL-23294, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Sudasinghe N, JR Cort, RT Hallen, MV Olarte, AJ 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 137:60-69.  doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2014.07.069
  • Zacher AH, MV Olarte, DM Santosa, DC Elliott, and SB Jones. 2014. "A Review and Perspective of Recent Bio-Oil Hydrotreating Research ." Green Chemistry 16(2):885-896.  doi:10.1039/c3gc41782d
  • Zacher AH, DC Elliott, MV Olarte, DM 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(12):7510-7516.  doi:10.1021/ef5017945


  • Elliott DC, TR Hart, AJ Schmidt, GG Neuenschwander, LJ Rotness, Jr, MV Olarte, AH Zacher, KO Albrecht, RT Hallen, and JE Holladay. 2013. "Process Development for Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae Feedstocks in a Continuous-Flow Reactor ." Algal Research 2(4):445-454. 


  • Elliott DC, TR Hart, GG Neuenschwander, LJ Rotness, Jr, MV Olarte, AH Zacher, and Y Solantausta. 2012. "Catalytic Hydroprocessing of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil from Pine Sawdust." Energy and Fuels 26(6):3891-3896.  doi:10.1021/ef3004587
  • Elliott DC, TR Hart, GG Neuenschwander, LJ Rotness, Jr, MV Olarte, and AH Zacher. 2012. "Chemical Processing in High-Pressure Aqueous Environments. 9. Process Development for Catalytic Gasification of Algae Feedstocks." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 51(33):10768-10777.  doi:10.1021/ie300933w

Chemical and Biological Process Development

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