Professor Athanasios (Thanos) Tsolakis B.Eng, PhD, CEng, FIMechE, FHEA

Professor Athanasios Tsolakis

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Chair in Thermodynamics
School Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Athanasios Tsolakis is Professor of Thermodynamics and Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer for the School of Engineering.  Thanos has published over 150 research papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings in the areas of fuels and fuel treatments, low carbon and carbon free energy carriers, combustion and vehicle emissions control technologies such as environmental catalysts and aftertreatment systems. He researches synergies between fuel, propulsion and after-treatment technologies for cleaner road vehicles.

His research covers both fundamentals and industrial applications and he has received funding awards from Research Councils UK, Innovate UK, Horizon2020 in collaboration with industry.


  • PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education-Award of excellence (Birmingham), UK, 2010
  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, 2004
  • BEng in Mechanical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, 2001
  • BEng in Manufacturing Engineering, T.E.I. of Piraeus, Piraeus, Greece. 1999


Thanos obtained BEng in Manufacturing Engineering from Technological Education Institute of Piraeus in Greece in 1999 and BEng in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 from the University of Birmingham in the UK. Three years later (2004) obtained his PhD from the University of Birmingham.

From Birmingham, Thanos moved to Johnson Matthey plc, where he was a Research Scientist (2004-2005), and worked at their Technology Centre on R&D projects for their catalytic technologies. In October 2005, he joined the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer 2005- 2010, Senior Lecturer (2010- 2012), Reader of Thermodynamics (2012 – 2016).

He was appointed to the Chair of Thermodynamics in 2016.

In 2007 he was elected member of the IMechE and become Chartered Mechanical Engineer (CEng) and in 2009 he was elected Fellow of the IMechE (FIMechE). In 2011 he was elected Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) after completing an award winning Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in higher education.

In 2012 was appointed the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) lead and Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer for the School of Mechanical Engineering. Since January 2016 Thanos is the Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer for the School of Engineering.


Teaching Interests

  • Level 4 Biofuels Combustion
  • Level 4 Synoptic Engineering
  • Levels 4/3 Supervise on average 6 Final Year Projects.
  • Level 3 Design and Professional Skills
  • Level 2 Thermodynamics and Fluids

Postgraduate supervision

Doctoral Researchers:


Maria Bogarra, Particulate Matter Characteristics from modern GDI Engines.

Mohammed Fayad The role of alternative fuels on PM characteristics from modern diesel engines.

Syed Rizvi Cryogenics utilisation in reciprocated engine

Omid Doustdar, Low-Temperature Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

Cruz Hergueta Santos-Olmo Efficient environmental catalysts.

Nahil Serhan Next generation fuels for reduced soot emission in diesel engine.

Jun Chong, Architecture of next generation aftertreament systems

Alex Parkinson, Biofuels combustion, impact on aftertreatment systems


Doctoral Researchers Completed:


M. Hamedi Diesel Exhaust Aftertreatment Thermal Management, 2016.

A. Ahmadi Nejat, Modelling and Detailed Study of Engine Aftertreatment Systems, 2016.

N. Moazami, Modelling of a fixed bed reactor for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis of simulated N2-rich syngas over Co/SiO2, 2016 

I. Lefort, Thermal Efficient Advanced Diesel Aftertreatment, 2015.

W. Wang, Hydrogen Production and Fuels Upgrade for IC Engines Using Catalytic Technologies, 2014.

D. Fennell, CO2 reduction in vehicles through emission optimisation, 2013.

H.S. Tira, On-board a vehicle fuel reforming for hydrogen production, 2013.

J. Shenker, Tribology in IC Engines, 2013.

J.J. Chong, Hybrid plasma assisted catalytic fuel reformer, 2012.

S. Gill, Enhancing aftertreatment system performance through advanced combustion modes, 2012.

E. Sukjit, Properties of lubricants and fuels including Biofuels and new alternative fuels for IC engines, 2012.

C. S. Lau, Low quality fuels upgrade, 2012.

J. Piaszyk, Procedures for utilisation of neat Tallow Biofuel in gen-set engines, esterification for trucks and off-road vehicles and decentralised conversion to syngas and synthetic diesel, 2012.

B. Sawatmongkhon, Modelling on Silver/Alumina HC-SCR catalyst, December 2011,

P. Rounce, Exhaust after-treatment for alternative fuels, 2011.

A. Hassan, Aftertretament for HCCI engines, 2011.

N. Abdullah, Impact of biofuels on high performance engines, 2011.

S. Sitshebo, Catalytic aftertreatment of NOx emissions using diesel fuel as reductant, 2010.

U. Elghawi, Speciation and quantification of individual hydrocarbons in fuel reformers and HCCI engines, 2009.

K. Theinnoi, Impact of diesel fuel on Silver/Alumina HC-SCR catalyst NOx reduction activity, 2008.

S. Chuepeng, Quantitative impact on engine performance and emissions of high proportion biodiesel blends, 2008.

A.M.K. Abu-Jrui, Control of diesel engine NOx emissions by selective catalytic reduction & exhaust gas fuel reforming, 2007.


Research interests include:

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  • Carbon free or low carbon energy carriers.
  • Internal combustion engines.
  • Environmental catalysts and catalytic systems (e.g. Exhaust gas after-treatments).
  • Fuel reforming.
  • Combustion and emissions control.
  • Alternative fuels (i.e. Bio-fuels, Hydrogen).
  • Emissions speciation (e.g. Particulate Matter, Hydrocarbons, Unregulated Emissions).

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Research Projects include:

  • HORIZON2020 (Ref. 686086) - PARTIAL-PGM Development of novel, high Performance hybrid TWV/GPF Automotive afteR treatment systems by raTIonAL design: substitution of PGMs and Rare earth materials. 14 Partners from the EU and USA: Johnson Matthey (UK), Warrant Group (ITA) Demokritos (GRE), University of Lille (FRA), NTUA (GRE), UNIP (ITA), University of Antwerp (BEL), LiqTech (DEN), LURE (SPA), UCTP (CZS), aAmbiente (ITA) and University of Delaware (USA).

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  • Innovate UK (Ref. 102281) – AuxPac - Auxiliary Power and Cooling. Collaborators: Dearman Engine Company Ltd. and Hubbard Products Ltd.
  • Innovate UK, KTP 3245 Insects trap using combustion by products, Collaborator Brandenburg.
  • Jaguar Land Rover: Advanced Thermal Management of Diesel Aftertreatment Systems
  • Bauhaus - Johnson Matthey funded project. Collaborators - Johnson Matthey, Oxford University, Cardiff University.
  • TSB (400176/149), - Ultra low carbon vehicle technology and supply network development Grant. CREO - CO2 Reduction through Emission Optimisation. Collaborators – Ford Motor Company Limited (Lead), Johnson Matthey, Jaguar Land Rover, ITM Power Limited, Revolve Technologies Limited, Cambustion Limited, University of Bradford and University of Liverpool.

graphic 4

  • EPSRC (EP/H050248/1), Combustion with Simultaneous Nitrogen and Hydrogen Enrichment. Collaborators – Brunel University and Cardiff University.
  • EPSRC (EP/G03139/1) Novel Compact Aftertreatment Systems for Simultaneous Reduction of Diesel Engine NOx, PM, CO & HC Emissions. Collaborators- Johnson Matthey, Shell, Brunel University.

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  • EPSRC (EP/F061692/1) Grant, (Prof. H.M. Xu PI) Impact of DMF on Engine Performance and Emissions as a New Generation of Sustainable Biofuel. Collaborators- Green Fuels, Innospec Inc, Jaguar.
  • EPSRC (EP/F025483/1) Grant, Diesel Particulate Filter Regeneration with On-Board Produced Hydrogen-Rich Gas. Collaborators- Johnson Matthey and Brunel University.
  • TSB (DT/F002807/1), (Prof. H.M. Xu PI). Flex-Diesel Engines with Sustainable Bio-fuels for Clean and Efficient On and Off Road Vehicles. Collaborators- Green Fuels, Johnson Matthey, Shell, Jaguar

Other activities

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Chartered Mechanical Engineer
  • Fellow of Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy 
  • EPSRC Associate College Member


Book Chapters

  • Tsolakis, M. Bogarra and J. Herreros. Chapter 1. “Road Vehicle Technologies and Fuels”. Issues no. 44: Environmental impacts of road vehicles: past, present and future.
  • Megaritis A., Tsolakis A., Golunski S.E., Wyszynski M.L., ‘Fuel reforming for Diesel Engines’, Chapter in ‘Direct Injection Combustion Engines and their Fuels for Automotive Applications in the 21st Century’, Zhao H. (Ed.), Woodhead Publishing, 2009.
  • York A.P.E. and Tsolakis A. Cleaner Vehicle Emissions. Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology 2008;1– 7.

Selected Peer Review Journal Papers

Hydrogen Production, Fuel Reforming and its Applications

  • Bogarra M.; Herreros J.M.; Tsolakis A.; York A.P.E.; Millington P.J.;  Martos F.J.  Impact of exhaust gas fuel reforming and exhaust gas recirculation on particulate matter morphology in Gasoline Direct Injection Engine. Journal of Aerosol Science, 103 (2017) 1.
  • Bogarra M.;  Herreros J.M.;  Tsolakis A.;  York A.P.E.;  Millington P.J.  Study of particulate matter and gaseous emissions in gasoline direct injection engine using on-board exhaust gas fuel reforming. Applied Energy 180 (2016) 245.
  • Fennell, D.; Herreros, J.; Tsolakis, A.; Cockle, K.; Pignon, J.; Millington, P. Thermochemical recovery technology for improved modern engines fuel economy. Part 1: Analysis of a prototype exhaust gas fuel reformer. RSC Advances, 5 (2015), 35252.
  • Leung P., Tsolakis A., Rodríguez-Fernández J., Golunski S. “Raising the Fuel Value and Recovering Exhaust Heat by On-Board Oxidative Reforming of Bioethanol.” Energy Environ. Sci., 3 (2010) 780.
  • Tsolakis A., Golunski S. E. “Sensitivity of process efficiency to reaction routes in exhaust-gas reforming of diesel fuel.” Chem. Eng. J., 117 (2006) 131.

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Fuels, Biofuels, Synthetic Fuels Combustion

  • Herreros J.M.; Schroer K.; Sukjit E.; Tsolakis A. Extending the environmental benefits of ethanol-diesel blends through DGE incorporation. Applied Energy 146 (2015) 335.
  • Pinzi S.; Rounce P.; Herreros J.M.; Tsolakis A.; Dorado P. The Effect of Fatty Acids Composition in Biodiesel fuels on Combustion and Emissions, Fuel, 104 (2013), 170.
  • Gill S. S.; Tsolakis A.; et al. Diesel emissions improvements through the use of biodiesel or oxygenated blending components. Fuel, 95   (2012) 578.
  • Gill S.S.; Tsolakis A.; Dearn K.; Rodríguez-Fernández J. Combustion Characteristics and Emissions of Fischer-Tropsch Diesel Fuels in IC Engines. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 37 (2011) 503.
  • Lapuerta M., Armas O., Hernández J.J., Tsolakis A. Potential for Reducing Emissions in a Diesel Engine by Fuelling with Conventional Biodiesel and Fischer-Tropsch Diesel. Fuel 89 (2010) 3106.

Fuels Synthesis, Low Carbon and Carbon Free Energy Carriers

  • Wang, W.; Herreros, J.M.; Tsolakis, A.; York A.P.E. Reducing CO2 footprint through synergies in carbon free energy vectors and low carbon fuels. Energy, 112 (2016) 976.
  • Moazami N.; Mahmoudi H.; Rahbar K.; Panahifar P.; Tsolakis A.; Wyszynski M. L. Catalytic performance of cobalt–silica catalyst for Fischer–Tropsch synthesis: Effects of reaction rates on efficiency of liquid synthesis. Chem. Eng. Science, 134 (2015) 374.
  • Moazami, N.; Wyszynski, M.L.; Mahmoudi, H.; Tsolakis, A.; Zou, Z.; Panahifar, P.; Rahbar, K.   Modelling of a fixed bed reactor for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of simulated N2-rich syngas over Co/SiO2: Hydrocarbon production, Fuel, 154 (2015) 140.
  • Wang, W.; Herreros, J.M.; Tsolakis, A.; et al. Ammonia as hydrogen carrier for transportation; investigation of the ammonia exhaust gas fuel reforming. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy. 38 (2013) 9907.
  • Gill S.S., Chatha G.S., Tsolakis A., Golunski S.E., York A.P.E. Assessing the Effects of Partially Decarbonising a Diesel Engine by Co-fuelling with Dissociated Ammonia. Int. J. Hydrogen Energy. 37 (2012), 6074

Environmental Catalysts (Engine exhaust gas after-treatment)

  • Hassan A.O.; Abu-Jrai A.; Turner D.; Tsolakis A et al. Control of harmful hydrocarbon species in the exhaust of modern advanced GDI engines. Atmospheric Environment. 129 (2016) 210.
  • Ramskill, N.; Gladden, L.; Sederman, A.;  Watling, T.C.;  York, A.P.E.;  Tsolakis, A.;  Herreros, J.M.;  Lefort, I. Magnetic resonance imaging for investigating diesel particulate filters. Emissions (2016), 132.
  • Herreros J.M.; Schroer K.; Sukjit E.; Tsolakis A. Extending the environmental benefits of ethanol-diesel blends through DGE incorporation. Applied Energy 146 (2015) 335.

  • Wang, W.; Herreros, J.M.; Tsolakis, A.; York, A.P.E. Increased NO2 Concentration in the Diesel Engine Exhaust for Improved Ag/Al2O3 Catalyst NH3-SCR activity. Chem. Eng. J., 270 (2015) 582.

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  • Bogarra-Macias, M., Herreros-Arellano, J., Tsolakis, A., York, A. et al., "Reformate Exhaust Gas Recirculation (REGR) Effect on Particulate Matter (PM), Soot Oxidation and Three Way Catalyst (TWC) Performance in Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) Engines," SAE Int. J. Engines 9(1):2016
  • Lefort I.; Herreros J.M.; Tsolakis A. Reduction of Low Temperature Engine Pollutants by Understanding the Exhaust Species Interactions in a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst. Env. Science & Technology. 48 (2014) 2361.
  • Herreros J.M.; Gill S.S.; Lefort I.; Tsolakis A. et al. Enhancing the low temperature oxidation performance over a Pt and a Pt-Pd diesel oxidation catalyst. App. Catal. B: Env.147 (2014) 835.
  • Chong J.J., Tsolakis A., Gill S.S., Theinnoi K., Golunski S.E. Enhancing the NO2/NOx ratio in Compression Ignition Engines by Hydrogen and Reformate Combustion, for Improved Aftertreatment Performance. Int. J Hydrogen Energy 35 (2010) 8723.
  • Houel V., Millington P., Rajaram R., Tsolakis A. Promoting Functions of H2 in Diesel-SCR Over Silver Catalysts, App. Catal. B: Env., 77 (2007) 29.
  • Houel V., Millington P., Rajaram R., Tsolakis A. Fuel Effects on the Activity of Silver Hydrocarbon-SCR Catalysts, Appl. Catal. B: Env., 73 (2007) 203.
  • Houel V., Millington P., Pollington S., Poulston S., Rajaram R., Tsolakis A. Chemical Deactivation of Ag/Al2O3 by Sulphur for Selective Reduction of NOx Using Hydrocarbons, Catal. Today 114 (2006) 334.
  • Sawatmongkhon B., Tsolakis A., Theinnoi K., York A.P.E., Millington P. J., Rajaram R.R. Microkinetic Modelling for Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) of NOx by Propane in a Silver-Based Automotive Catalytic Converter, Appl. Catal. B:  Env., 111 (2012) 165.

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