Simon maintains a portfolio of research in the areas of Energy Use and Efficiency with a specialisation in the performance of fuels for the Aviation sector. His work has a strong emphasis on the development of experimental methods which can then be used to develop robust empirical and fundamental models of systems, in a way that permits a deeper understanding of the phenomena underlying these processes.
Much of his research activity from 2004 – 2019 has been in the establishment of the Low Carbon Combustion Centre at the University of Sheffield, the Centre is an example of this emphasis in action in the research work across a range of sectors.
The relative growth of the aviation sector, coupled with concerns around the environmental impact and future security of fuels supply has caused a rapid development of alternative fuels for the aviation gas turbine community. During the 2000’s the focus was very much on demonstrating the technical suitability of novel fuel compositions, which is now demonstrated, and the discussion has moved on to environmental impact. Simon was fortunate enough to present his work in this area at an ICAO seminar in February 2017.
His strategy is to investigate the compositional effects of fuel on the specification and performance properties of the fuel with a view to building tools to predict the behaviour of any fuel from a knowledge of its chemistry alone. This has meant the development of proposals (H2020 proposals, FlexJET (co-ordinated by Chemical Engineering at Birmingham University), SWAFEA and JETSCREEN) to work in collaboration with other groups around the world on this common theme (SBRI, NJFP, FAA, ECATS). Within the LCCC, their specialisation has been very much on Particulate Matter emissions measurement systems, elastomer compatibility and thermal stability of aviation fuels.
Much of his work from 2004 until the present has been focused on understanding the complex thermal, flow and chemical processes behind fuel thermal stability. This has required a focus on the development of range of experimental techniques, empirical models and more complete numerical models which has now culminated in the award of the FINCAP ClearSky2 and JETSCREEN H2020 grants.
His strategy is to develop models which can be scaled between the numerous experimental methods for the assessment of fuel behaviour. For this work, they have collaborated with Dr. Meijer in the Computational Chemistry Group and Dr. Mumtaz in the Additive Manufacturing Group at Sheffield University and internationally, IFP and ONERA in France and the USAF and Dayton University in the USA.
Process Industry Energy Efficiency
The process industries are a major emitter of CO2 but lack the investment in understanding and improving their energy efficiency common in larger scale sectors. Simon's research has led him to believe there are large efficiency gains to be made through the analysis of and redesign of heating processes within these plants and permit the development of heat transfer relationships in these more realistic and academically challenging environments. he has already demonstrated an impact in these areas with my PhD and three KTP awards with the Wedge Group Ltd in the West Midlands.