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Dr Phil Coker

Portrait of Dr Phil Coker
  • Module Convenor, Sustainable Urban Systems, Carbon Management & Analysis (postgraduate taught)(CEM233)
  • Lecturer
  • UoR Environment and Sustainability Committee - academic representative.

Areas of interest

Phil's core research examines the variability of renewable energy supplies and the challenges for the energy industry in moving towards a low carbon energy system. His work seeks to evaluate solutions that can help maintain secure and affordable energy supplies, drawing on three intertwined themes:

  • characterising the factors that lead to patterns in energy supply availability
  • analysing areas of critical concern for energy systems, including extreme, coincident and unforeseen events
  • exploring technical and market-based options for aligning supply and demand, including demand response, energy storage and alternatives such as hydrogen applications.

Much of this work has involved a close collaboration with meteorological experts and an emphasis on application to industry. Industry partners to date have included National Grid, AES, SSE, Marks & Spencer, Costain, the National Physical Laboratory and DriveElectric.


Teaching contributions to the following modules:

  • Carbon Management (postgraduate taught) (CEM224)
  • Energy in Buildings (postgraduate taught) (CEM221)
  • Urban Sustainability (postgraduate taught) (CEM220)
  • Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) (CEM219)
  • Renewable Energy Systems (CEM160)


Dr Phil Coker transitioned to academic research following 15 years as an operational engineer, manager and consultant in the UK energy industry. After joining British Gas as a graduate engineer, he gained in-depth practical experience of system planning and gas pressure control and storage. He was accredited as Competent Person and Authorising Engineer for operations on the high pressure gas network.

Following management and competence assurance, he progressed to a consultancy role providing technical expertise to the energy industry.

Now established at the University of Reading, Dr Coker's teaching and research draws on the engineering experience, broad industry knowledge and interdisciplinary approach developed in his earlier career. His research into the management of variability within energy systems has progressed from detailed characterisation of renewable energy variability, through system impact assessment to a current focus on mitigation.

Recent projects address mitigation measures including demand response and energy storage applications. Most of this work is applied in nature, and includes a strong industry liaison component. Research partners include National Grid, SSE, Marks and Spencer, AES, Reading Borough Council, Costain, DriveElectric and the National Physical Laboratory.

Academic qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, 2013
  • PhD, University of Reading, 2011
  • BEng, University of Bath, 1992.

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Member (CEng), Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Affiliate member, Energy Institute
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Honorary Research Associate, UCL Energy Institute
  • Energy Forum Steering Group, Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Science Board member, Energy Superstore, Research Councils UK energy storage research hub.