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Josephine Mary Hill

Faculty Listing

Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Josephine Mary Hill



(403) 210-9488

ENB 204H


Tier II Canada Research Chair in Hydrogen and Catalysis

Dr. Josephine Mary Hill currently serves as the Canada Research Chair in Hydrogen and Catalysis in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. She holds BASc and MASc degrees from the University of Waterloo and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In 2014, Dr. Hill was among the first group of 91 scholars to join the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, an organization launched by the Royal Society of Canada. In addition to several technical awards, she has also received accolades for her mentoring work including the Engineers Canada Award for the Support of Women in the Engineering Profession.

Cross Appointments and Affiliations:

Selected Awards:

  • 2015 – Research Excellence Award, Schulich School of Engineering
  • 2015 – WEF Expo Advocating Women in Engineering Award
  • 2015 – Outstanding Teaching Performance, Schulich School of Engineering
  • 2014 – Member, College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada
  • 2013 – Engineers Canada Award for the Support of Women in the Engineering Profession
  • 2012 – APEGA Women in Engineering and Geoscience Champion Award
  • 2009 – Syncrude Canada Innovation Award, CSChE
  • 2007 – Canada Research Chair in Hydrogen and Catalysis
  • 2004 – Canadian Hunter Young Innovator Award
Research Activities: 

Dr. Hill’s research group’s key areas of interest are:

Catalytic Hydrotreating of Heavy Oil

Alberta has considerable heavy oil reserves but heavy oil is much more difficult to process than conventional oil due to its high viscosity, metals content, and sulfur content. With industrial collaboration, we are working to develop sustainable catalysts from the by-product petroleum coke, as well to develop better methods to characterize these porous carbon materials.

Water Treatment

Biochar and activated carbon can be economically produced from waste biomass. Research is on-going to understand the microstructure and surface properties of these materials to maximize the adsorption capacity for removal of organic and inorganic pollutants in tailings ponds and fracking water.

Catalytic Gasification

Gasification is a process to convert solid materials into gaseous products in the presence of steam and/or sub-stoichiometric oxygen. The gaseous product can be converted to hydrogen or liquid fuels. Naturally occurring sources of catalysts (e.g., switchgrass) improve the gasification of coal and petcoke and the overall sustainability of the process, but present certain challenges. Activation is a sub-set of gasification and so we are applying our gasification knowledge to the activation of petroleum coke and biomass.

Selected Publications:

A Veksha, TI Bhuiyan, and JM Hill, Activation of Aspen wood with carbon dioxide and phosphoric acid for removal of total organic carbon from oil sands produced water: increasing the yield with bio-oil recycling, Materials (2016) 9 (1), 20 (Special Issue on Carbonaceous Materials).

J Kopyscinski, CA Mims, JM Hill, Formation of CH4 during K2CO3 catalyzed steam gasification of ash-free coal. Influence of catalyst loading, H2O/H2 ratio and heating protocol, Energy & Fuels (2015) 29 (11), 6970-6977.

I Hita, R Palos, JM Arandes, JM Hill, P Castaño, Functionalized Activated Carbon Catalysts for the Hydroprocessing of Scrap Tire Pyrolysis Oil (STPO) towards Cleaner Fuels, Fuel Processing Technology (2015) 144, 239-247.

JM Hill, A Karimi, and M Malekshahian, Characterization, gasification, activation, and potential uses for the millions of tonnes of petroleum coke produced in Canada each year, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering (2014) 92, 1618-1626 - Invited Review Article.


Dr. Hill has taught the following courses:

  • ENGG 201 – Behaviour of Solids, Liquids & Gases
  • ENGG 311 – Engineering Thermodynamics
  • ENCH 315 – Chemical Engineering Process Calculation
  • ENCH 421 – Chemical Engineering Kinetics
  • ENCH 519.10/ENEE 519 – Fuel Properties & Utilization
  • ENCH 551 – Chemical Engineering Laboratory
  • ENCH 651 – Engineering Fuel Cells

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1999)

MASc, University of Waterloo (1992)

BASc, University of Waterloo (1991)


Graduate Program Affiliations: 

Dr. Hill is always looking for bright and motivated people to join her research group. Even if no specific positions are advertised, you can send your CV and a brief statement of interest to: