Alex Thirkell

Centre for Doctoral Training Doctoral Researcher



Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU
United Kingdom


Lead Supervisor

Professor Rui Chen

Research Summary 

Alex joined the CDT for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research in July 2016. Previously, he graduated from Loughborough University in July 2016 with a MEng in Aeronautical Engineering.

His current research is in hydrogen fuel cells for use on aircraft.

He is funded through the EPSRC CDT  in Fuel Cells and their fuels: EP/L015749/1.


Master of Engineering (MEng) in Aeronautical Engineering, Loughborough University (2016).


Alex graduated from his MEng degree in 2016. During the course of his degree, he completed a 1 year placement at Intelligent Energy, working in the platform architecture and subsystem development team.


Alex’s research focuses on the use of hydrogen fuel cells in aircraft. The main aims are to develop a model which can be used by aircraft manufacturers to quickly find the optimal fuel cell system for their new aircraft. As well as integrating a lightweight low temperature fuel cell system into a relatively large model aircraft (≈4m wingspan) and demonstrate fuel cell powered flight.

His main areas of interest are:

  • Aircraft categorisation
  • Effects or high altitude on PEMFC performance
  • Supportability issues with the use of fuel cells on aircraft
  • Main factors affecting cell start-up times and minimisation methods
  • Fuel cell electrical performance characterisation and ability to manage demand fluctuations

Other activities

Alex enjoys many activities, such as swimming, coaching and camping.