Dr Thomas Fender is a Research Fellow specialising on decarbonising industrial fuel demand in the UK, with a focus on dispersed industry and in particular the Black Country cluster. Tom’s research interests broadly encompass industrial decarbonization ranging from electrification and the utilization of hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in industry along with the subsurface storage of hydrogen and CO2. He works in partnership with Repowering the Black Country and the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre, with a focus on the national infrastructure solutions for industrial decarbonisation.
Previously Tom worked as a researcher within the Centre for Energy at Newcastle University, focusing on the decarbonisation strategy in the North-East, and in particular how the university and local area can interact with large projects in the region, such as Net Zero Teesside.
Tom completed his PhD in Geoscience at Newcastle University, as part of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas, focusing on the likely impact of subsurface changes on the mechanical properties of mudrocks which act as the major seal for most potential carbon sequestration projects in the UK.
Mr Chris Harrison, Research Fellow
Dr Chris Harrison is a Research Fellow in ESPAG, studying the role of energy storage (ES) systems in helping to decarbonise the global energy system. His work explores the role of policy in driving the deployment of ES. Chris is currently in the final stages of a PhD focused on the development of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.
Chris qualified with an MEng (Hons) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 2013. After leaving Sheffield, he moved to Birmingham to join an aerospace engineering company, where he worked in a product support role for four years. In 2017, Chris joined the University of Birmingham as a PhD student at the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fuel Cells and their Fuels. In 2022, he also took up a new role in the University’s ATETA project [hyperlinked to https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/energy/research/ateta.aspx], aimed at supporting the decarbonisation of regional industries.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=V6pt9jwAAAAJ
Dr Carlo Luiu, Research Fellow
Dr Carlo Luiu is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Innovation (IGI). He is an interdisciplinary researcher, currently part of the Resilient Cities research programme, working on urban and transport resilience in the cities of Global South. His research covers a broad range of topics within the transport and mobility field, including transport and health, air quality, e-mobility, transport inequalities, mobility needs and barriers of vulnerable groups, especially older people.
Carlo joined the Resilient Cities research programme at IGI after completing his PhD at the School of Engineering of the University of Birmingham (2019), where he developed and employed a theoretical framework to investigate the factors affecting the fulfilment of travel needs amongst the older population.
Dr Neha Mehta, Research Fellow
Dr Neha Mehta is a Research Fellow at the School of Chemical Engineering, with research interests in the fields of environmental sustainability, circular economy, waste-to-energy pathways and renewable energy systems. In her research Neha uses a wide range of research methods, including life cycle analysis, techno-economic assessment and material flow mapping.
An Environmental Engineer by education, she completed her PhD from University of Turin in 2019, MTech from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and BTech from the National Institute of Technology Raipur.
Outreach is key to Neha’s research activities. Behavioural change and awareness are important for taking research outside of the academic setting and generate real impact. Hence, Neha led on several panel discussions, workshops, and stakeholder focus groups in events such as the Northern Ireland Science Festival and Meet the Expert at the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum.
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=g7nU9o4AAAAJ&hl=en
Laurie Duncan is a PhD student in the ESPAG, focusing on the role of evidence in net zero policymaking in local and regional authorities. Laurie has also been a Research Assistant for the Institute for Global Innovation’s project Assessing a regional approach to COVID-19 community recovery.
Laurie graduated from the University of Warwick with an integrated Masters degree in Mathematics. He developed an enthusiasm for interdisciplinary study, writing his dissertation on the use of mathematical models of gases to simulate opinion formation of populations.
Laurie has been Chair of Community Energy Birmingham since June 2022, having joined the board at the start of his PhD.
Former team members
- Dr Amruta Joshi, currently Senior Research Fellow, University of Warwick
- Dr Suraj Paneru, currently Sustainability and Climate Change Officer, Dundee City Council
- Dr Xinfang Wang, currently Assistant Professor in Cold Economy, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham
- Dr Dan Murrant, currently Networks and Energy Storage Practice Manager, Energy Systems Catapult
- Dr Ed Barbour, currently Lecturer in Energy Systems, Loughborough University
- Dr Chunping Xie, currently Senior Policy Fellow, Grantham Institute, London School of Economics
- Barton Chen, thesis: ‘Direct wind-to-heat energy systems integrated with storage for electricity and heat generation’ (2021)
- Ilaria Di Fresco, thesis: ‘Simulation Analysis of Value of Energy Storage Technologies in Existing Energy Systems’ (2019)