Solar energy for cooling loads in rural health centres: Investigating a clinic in Central Uganda

Ilaria Del Frate

Appropriate air temperature inside health facilities prevents the spread of infections, however, air conditioning is increasingly contributing to global warming. Energy access in rural areas is often solved with decentralised solar systems. Renewable solar cooling and solar driven ACs can provide a solution, and in my research, cooling loads of a Ugandan rural clinic are assessed. A PV plus battery system to power the AC is analysed in terms of costs, emissions, and suitability for rural areas in developing countries.


  • Dr Philip Sandwell, Department of Physics
  • Hamish Beath, Department of Physics
  • Benedict Winchester, Department of Physics


Spectral-splitting PV-thermal solar collectors for hydrogen production

Gregoire Drouets

As new ways of green energy production are always needed, developing effective processes of hydrogen generation can be part of this step forward. This study focuses on optimising the energy output of an industrial parabolic dish using the visible region of the sun’s spectrum to generate electricity via semi-transparent solar panels. The energy efficiency will be simulated for different layouts of the panels, and the global output will be compared to the original thermal output of the dish. This technology could be applied to perform high-temperature electrolysis of water, therefore efficiently producing hydrogen.


  • Professor Christos Markides, Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Gan Huang, Chemical Engineering


Opto-electronic modelling of perovskite materials for optimal PVT solar cell design

Alexander Fish

Using modelling to predict the optical behaviour of thin film perovskite based solar cell designs. The optical behaviour can be used for spectral splitting in order to extract useful heat from photovoltaic-thermal solar cells.


  • Professor Christos Markides, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr Gan Huang, Department of Chemical Engineering


Techno-economic analysis of implementing solar PV systems in Lebanon, a solution to an energy crisis

Paul Harfouche

My project focuses on undergoing a techno-economic analysis around the implementation of Solar PV microgrid in Lebanon. The goal of my research is to understand what optimal system (combining renewables, storage and grid connectivity) would be ideal for a Lebanese household in such challenging times, taking into consideration the lack of availability of the national grid, a dependence on diesel generators and an ongoing economic crisis.


  • Mr. Benedict Winchester, Chemical Engineering
  • Dr. Philip Sandwell, Physics
  • Mr. Hamish Beath, Physics
  • Professor Jenny Nelson, Physics


Biomimetic Photovoltaic Leaf Design and Techno-Economic Analysis for Solar Cooling and Desalination

Ellie Martin

A major barrier to solar energy uptake is the effect of temperature on photovoltaic power output, with silicon solar cells experiencing a 0.2-0.5% decrease in efficiency for each 1°C increase in cell temperature above 25°C. To address this issue, a novel technology is designed that mimics the process of transpiration in leaves to provide passive cooling at an ultra-low cost. Simultaneously, growing global water scarcity is addressed through a coupled desalination technology for providing clean drinking water from saltwater resources. A techno-economic analysis is performed to analyse the competitive advantages of the PV-leaf/desalination technology, and regions of best fit are evaluated.


  • Professor Christos Markides, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Dr. Gan Huang, Department of Chemical Engineering


Simulating breaking wave loads on offshore monopoly structures

Leonie Orhan

Offshore wind is key to the decarbonisation of the UK power grid. While the main focus lies on increasing efficiency and scale, the loads on the structures of offshore turbines remain difficult to model due to the high irregularities of waves. This project focused on the modelling of breaking wave loads on monopile offshore wind turbines through the open-source CFD tool OpenFOAM, and compared the forces generated to the practices recommended in various standards for offshore structures.


  • Dr Marios Christou, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Optimising Inorganic Perovskite Photovoltaics for Energy Harvesting

Saleem Raza

The power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of state-of-the-art solar cells based on organometal halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) now exceeds 25 %. Whilst the origin of such improvements can be ascribed to the identification of novel compositions there still remains the unsolved issue of device stability. All inorganic PSCs offer a possible pathway to solving the stability issues although these materials face their own challenges. The project focuses on caesium-based PSCs, an attractive option owing to the high thermal stability of these materials. Despite this advantage the family of Cs based perovskite absorber layers typically suffer from phase instability that limit device performance.


  • Professor Martyn McLachlan, Molecular Science Research Hub (Department of Materials)


Solar organic Rankine cycle (ORC) systems integrated with thermochemical energy storage for domestic applications

Qichun Zhang

The high compatibility between solar energy and organic Rankine cycle (ORC) in terms of operating temperature makes solar-ORC a promising technology in the future. Thermal energy storage, especially thermochemical energy storage (TCES), is considered an effective way to solve the supply shortage and resource waste caused by intermittency. This project conducts a techno-economic assessment of integrating a small-scale solar-ORC system with a TCES unit. A proposed whole system is mathematically modelled, optimised and examined under realistic weather conditions, which provides valuable insights into the selection of suitable configurations, components, thermochemical materials and working fluids for such systems. 


  • Dr Jian Song, Chemical Engineering
  • Professor Christos N. Markides, Chemical Engineering