Steve Kelley

Professor and the Head of the Department
Phone: 919.515.5321
Office Number: 2105B Biltmore Hall
Curriculum Vitae



Dr. Steve Kelley is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. His research interests include the sustainable production of energy and materials from biomass, and the application of novel analytical tools to biomass.  He teaches classes in Wood Chemistry (FB 301) and Wood Adhesives and Composites (FB 444). In addition to his research and teaching, he has also helped develop international partnerships for the Department.

Prior to joining NCSU, he spent 13 years at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) working on biomass conversion technologies. At NREL his responsibilities included technical leadership and innovation in the areas of biomass characterization, production of value-added biobased products and thermal conversion processes, and project management. He left NREL as a Principal Scientist. Prior to joining NREL, he worked in industry (Eastman Chemical Co. and Bend Research, Inc.) for 7 years developing new cellulose-based materials and membrane processes.


Bioethanol from Wood Hemicelluloses (Jameel, Phillips, Chang, Kelley) This collection of projects involve the production of ethanol from hemicellulose sugars extracted woody biomass.  The work includes wood extraction; characterization of the extracts and extracted wood; clean-up of the extracted sugars; ethanol production; technoeconomic modeling of the process.

Woody Biomass Quality Study (Hazel, Kelley)This collection of projects is focused on measuring the chemical composition and physical properties of many sources of woody biomass and developing an understanding on the biomass resource impacts the cost of converting the biomass into fuels and products.

Thermochemical Conversion of Woody Biomass (Jameel, Peretti, Dayton, Kelley)This work is focused on developing thermochemical process for converting biomass into fuels and products. This work includes a recent $3.2 million DOE funded demonstration project that includes work at NCSU, Research Triangle International (Dayton), and the University of Utah (Winger), that will demonstrate gasification of wood biomass, novel gas cleanup catalysts, and gas-to-liquids production.

Cellulose Based Materials (Rojas, Heitmann, Kelley) This work includes the preparation and characterization of cellulose polymers, copolymers and blends.  In particular this work is focused on the molecular level mixing behavior of cellulose copolymers and blends of cellulose copolymers with other organic and inorganic polymers.

Recent Publications

  • Daystar, J., Gonzalez, R., Reeb, C., Venditti, R., Treasure, T., Abt, R., & Kelley, S. (2014). Economics, environmental impacts, and supply chain analysis of cellulosic biomass for biofuels in the Southern US: pine, eucalyptus, unmanaged hardwoods, forest residues, switchgrass, and sweet sorghum. BioResources, 9(1), 393-444. [ Article ]
  • Meng, J. J., Smirnova, T. I., Song, X., Moore, A., Ren, X. Y., Kelley, S., Park, S., & Tilotta, D. (2014). Identification of free radicals in pyrolysis oil and their impact on bio-oil stability. RSC Advances, 4(56), 29840-29846. [ Article ]
  • Meng, J. J., Moore, A., Tilotta, D., Kelley, S., & Park, S. (2014). Toward understanding of bio-oil aging: Accelerated aging of bio-oil fractions. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2(8), 2011-2018. [ Article ]
  • Treasure, T., Gonzalez, R., Venditti, R., Pu, Y., Jameel, H., Kelley, S., & Prestemon, J. (2012). Co-production of electricity and ethanol, process economics of value prior combustion. Energy Conversion and Management, 62, 141-153. [ Article ]
  • Horvath, L., Peszlen, I., Gierlinger, N., Peralta, P., Kelley, S., & Csoka, L. (2012). Distribution of wood polymers within the cell wall of transgenic aspen imaged by Raman microscopy. Holzforschung, 66(6), 717-725. [ Article ]