Born in Umuoji, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State on 5th August, 1955, Professor Onukwuli received his secondary education at Notre Dame High School, Abatete, Anambra State. He then proceeded to Pannonian University, Veszprem, Hungary, where he obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Chemical Engineering. This was followed by a Ph.D. degree in 1988 from the University of Lagos. He lectured at Anambra State University of Technology, Enugu, from 1982 to 1992 after which he relocated to Nnamdi Azikiwe University. He rose through the ranks to become a professor in 1999.
Onukwuli was the head of Department of Chemical Engineering on two occasions
and the Dean of faculty of Engineering also on two occasions. He became the
Manager of Nnamdi Azikiwe University STEP-B project from 2009 to 2012. He has
participated in many NUC and COREN accreditation visits to many Nigerian
At the professional level, Professor Onukwuli is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers and also a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He is a COREN registered engineer. He was at various times the technical secretary and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is the consulting Editor, Journal of Innovative Research in Engineering and Sciences.
Professor Onukwuli has worked on a large number of research projects. He has supervised many undergraduate students, 31 M.Eng. students and 7 Ph.D. students, many of whom are lecturers in universities and managers in industries. Being a prolific writer, professor Onukwuli has authored 165 articles in peer review journals worldwide, many conference papers, a book and 3 book chapters. He has been an external examiner to many universities for both undergraduate and post graduate degrees in chemical engineering and has assessed candidates for readership and professorship positions in many universities.
In the past 30 years, Professor Onukwuli has carried out research in catalysis as well as local raw materials utilization.
In catalysis, an extensive work was done under Prof. A.A. Susu at the University of Lagos and includes:
(i) Reforming catalysts reactivity. Data necessary for design of reforming reactors were obtained for both constant and decaying catalysts.
(ii) Mortality studies: Possible ways of prolonging the life of platinum containing catalysts were suggested.
In the area of local raw materials utilization, Professor Onukwuli worked on:
(i) Upgrading Agbaja iron ore through bioleaching and hydrometallurgical methods.
(ii) Beneficiation of kaolinitic clays for use in paper and ceramic industries.
(iii) Biocoagulants for industrial waste water treatment.
(iv) Production of high quality refractory bricks from local clays for furnace linnings.
(v) Production of air drying alkyd, for the
paint industry from non-drying oil, and
(vi) Local fiber reinforced polymer composites for industrial use.
Upgrading of our raw materials to industrially acceptable standard will reduce importation of these raw materials, create employment, save foreign exchange, make products competitive and will make for sustainable development.
Professor Onukwuli is married to Dr. Vivian Onukwuli and they are blessed with children.