People and Research at the Energy Group

Janet Barlow

Dr Janet Barlow is a Reader in Urban Meteorology in the Department of Meteorology. She has expertise in the physics and fluid dynamics of the lowest layer of the atmosphere (the "boundary layer") and in particular urban atmospheres. Her current interest in renewable energy includes quantification of variability in wind and solar supply, and assessment of micro wind turbines in urban-type wind-flows. Her extensive fieldwork experience has led to an EPSRC Challenging Engineering award to set up an Advanced Climate Technology Urban Atmospheric Laboratory (ACTUAL) in London, engaging wind engineers (ARUP) and policy makers (Greater London Authority) in the impacts of urban microclimate on sustainability.

David Brayshaw

Dr David Brayshaw is a lecturer in the Department of Meteorology. His research interests include the development of tools and methods for managing weather and climate risk in the energy sector. This stems from his core area of research in understanding the planetary- to regional- scale circulation of the atmosphere, particularly the storm tracks of the North Atlantic, European and Mediterranean regions.

Phil Coker

Dr Phil Coker, Lecturer in Renewable Energy, is currently researching the variability of low carbon energy supplies and the relationship with energy demand variability. This research draws primarily on the factors that lead to patterns in energy supply availability - energy technology and meteorological aspects, together with market influences; but also opens up an interest in the factors that drive energy demand patterns - social factors, building technology and urban microclimate. Intrinsic supply and demand patterns are considered alongside the various technical and market based options for aligning supply and demand, including but not limited to energy storage.

Further research interests include:

- exploring carbon management within the wider sustainability agenda, particularly carbon accounting and footprinting approaches.

- the application of systems thinking approaches to urban scale energy systems.

Emmanuel Essah

Dr Emmanuel Essah is a lecturer in Sustainable Technologies with a background in renewable energy and building physics. His research interests are in solar energy systems and technologies, and how photovoltaic modules can be maximised. He also has specific research interests in the effects of insulation, airflow and ventilation on moisture transfer within buildings, on energy conservation and on the consequent implications for the risks and impacts arising from condensation formation in buildings. He has previously worked with a company to determine the effect of building materials: membranes, insulation, ridge and eaves ventilators on moisture transfer.

Katherine Hyde

Dr Katherine Hyde is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (Energy Group) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. She spent many years in industry providing sustainability and scientific services to the construction industry, working in consultancy, then for Taylor Woodrow Construction and latterly as a Group Director at BRE. Energy efficiency has remained an important part of Katherine's portfolio of work in the construction sector; this includes energy monitoring and targeting (a DTi competitiveness challenge project); energy efficiency for dwellings and non-domestic buildings, including lighting efficiency, microgeneration and renewables, ventilation and indoor air quality (Defra, Home Office, CLG, TSB, NHBC, EEDA, Taylor Woodrow etc). Now at the University of Reading, Katherine continues to work in these areas of research, as well as in biomass and bioenergy generation, connecting with her previous work on the construction and operation of a large anaerobic digestion plant. Sustainability in construction is a recurrent and ongoing interest.

Katherine Chairs the BSi Committee Panel 506/-0/4 on a new Standard on testing for Grey Water Equipment for Domestic Buildings, which includes water efficiency and low carbon water systems for buildings. She is a member of the Sustainable Built Environment Committee for the East of England.

Ben Potter

Dr Ben Potter has a background in power electronics, electric machines and electromagnetics, and joined the University in September 2009 after several years in industry. He is particularly interested in the design of systems for efficient energy transfer and is conducting research in the areas of renewable energy and smart grid.

Jacopo Torriti

Dr Jacopo Torriti's work focuses on sustainability aspects of energy demand economics, particularly with reference to smart meters and automated demand controllers. His recent research included: modelling economic incentives for demand side participation; assessing the environmental and economic impacts of discrete demand side control applications in commercial buildings; modelling timing of European demand through occupancy data; and measuring consumers’ willingness to pay for demand response programs. Before joining the University of Reading as a Lecturer in Sustainable Technologies, Jacopo held teaching and research positions at the London School of Economics, the University of Surrey, the European University Institute, the UK Government Sustainable Development Commission and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his time at the University of Surrey, Jacopo was Co-Investigator for the EPSRC project ‘Reshaping Energy Demand of Users by Communication Technology and Economic Incentives’.

Maria Vahdati

Dr Maria Vahdati's current research includes:

  • Assessment of a range of solar PV hybrid systems, with the aim of determining the most suitable hybrid system for BIPV.
  • Assessment of the operation of a number of PV installations in the country.
  • Design and development of a novel solar cooler through the use of a thermoelectric device.
  • Design and development of an Archimedes Screw type hydropower system for low-head applications.
  • Design and development of a rapid, compact steam generator for autoclaves and general sterilisation applications.
  • Currently speculative research: oil from algae.

Runming Yao

 is Reader in Building and Urban Sustainability in the School of Construction Management and Engineering at the University of Reading. Dr Yao's research interests lie in the sustainability of buildings and the urban environment including urban and building environmental performance; thermal comfort and productivity; human behaviour and energy management in buildings; intelligent building and control; and green building assessment. Dr Yao, as a co-investigator and principal investigator, has successfully received funding from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, EC Asia-Link, EPSRC, Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Council. Dr Yao is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and a Committee member of the CIBSE Intelligent Buildings Group.

Stefan Thor Smith

Dr Stefan Thor Smith is a lecturer in Energy Systems in the Built Environment in the School of Construction Management and Engineering. Dr Smith's research interests can be summarised as falling under the themes of environmental physics; nonlinear and complex systems; and energy and urban environments. Combining these themes he has carried out research in relation to meteorological conditions in urban environments, probabilistic climate projections for studying adaptation in the built environment, and use of agent based modelling for study of electricity demand and supply behaviour under scenarios of future energy portfolios.

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