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Centre for Research into Energy, Waste and the Environment

To generate and utilise affordable electrical power, propulsion and heat with minimal environmental or social impact, and to optimise industrial processes.

Over 80% of current UK energy demand is provided by hydrocarbon fuels. The Centre’s focus is to provide efficient, reliable heat and power generation, whilst moving towards a lower carbon economy.

Research work involves mitigating the effect of carbon-based heat and power generation (coal, gas, oil) systems, for example, through carbon capture technologies, or de-carbonising fuel supplies, whilst developing and improving the efficiency of renewable power sources such as marine and biomass-derived power. Chemical energy storage, for example, in the form of hydrogen or ammonia, and the research problems these raise, is also within the group’s remit.

The utilisation of traditional fuels and the introduction of new energy technologies require careful management of the various risks and hazards posed. Whilst energy may be considered on a supply/demand basis, this needs to be controlled by a systematic (management) process.

It is essential to analyse the impact of current and future energy utilisation in terms of health, safety and environmental management. The Centre specialises in the characterisation of hazards from traditional and alternative fuel sources, energy surveys and audits for high energy demand leisure centres and hospitals, and waste-to-energy schemes. Current estimates are that the UK’s Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) could produce up to 12% of our electricity requirement.

The Centre’s work also focuses on the application of new fuels and propulsion technologies for the transport sector, primarily automotive and aerospace. The transport sector is perhaps the most challenging area in the shift towards a sustainable energy economy, as it is still currently increasing its CO2 emissions, in contrast to the industrial and domestic sectors.

In order to enhance the understanding of energy systems investigations are undertaken into fundamental fluid dynamic and thermodynamic processes using new mathematical techniques and the development of novel laser diagnostic and experimental techniques.

Committees and esteem

  • International Energy Agency (IEA) Technical Collaboration Programme on ‘Combustion and Emissions Reduction’
  • RCUK strategic advisory committee (SAC) for ‘Energy’
  • SAE-31 Committee for development of new protocol for measurement of aviation emissions
  • Director of British Flame Research Committee
  • Trustee of UK Explosion Liaison Group (UKELG)
  • Steering committee membership of Institute of Physics ‘Combustion Physics’ group
  • Founder of Cardiff ‘Energy Systems’ Research Institute
  • Invited international expert advising the IEC on international standards for classification of explosive areas
  • Von-Karman Institute Lecture Series - keynote address in Multi-phase Hazards in Industrial Environment
  • Assisted UK Health and Safety Labs in lessons to be learnt aspects of Lord Cullen’s Inquiry into Ladbroke Grove train disaster
  • Hosted the 7th European Conference on Coal Research and its applications (2008)
  • Hosting, on behalf of Combustion Institute, 5th European Combustion Meeting (2011)
  • Evidence to House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee on Energy Policy


  • To develop fuel and operational flexibility for integration with low-carbon systems
  • To develop and optimise performance of renewable energy generators, for example tidal or biomass generation
  • To optimise efficiency of industrial processes
  • To provide predictive capability via a range of novel modelling approaches
  • To introduce novel advanced diagnostic techniques
  • To quantify hazards from energy systems and environmental impact


  • Burning velocity characteristics of various fuels and mixtures under laminar, turbulent and swirling flow conditions
  • Flame stability of swirl-enhanced combustion under ambient and elevated ambient conditions
  • Characteristics of novel atomisation systems under atmospheric and elevated ambient conditions
  • Characterisation of devolatilisation process from solid fuel particles (eg coal, biomass)
  • Optimisation of industrial energy, eg an integrated steel-works
  • Exploring potential utilisation of new energy storage chemicals such as hydrogen and ammonia
  • Modelling visco-elastic flows
  • Development of numerical models for new two-phase, free-boundary and atomisation thermofluid problems
  • Development and application of new turbulence modelling approaches
  • Modelling solid/fluid boundary interactions for marine power devices such as tidal turbines
  • Measurement of ultrafine particulate emissions.


FLEXEPLANT (EPSRC): Flexible and Efficient Power Plant - This consortium project (with 6 universities and 14 industrial partners) aims to develop fuel flexible energy systems. Specifically, the contribution of the TESR group is via the Gas Turbine Research Centre, investigating the impact of higher-hydrocarbons and hydrogen or biogas on the stability of gas turbine combustors.

SELECT (EPSRC): Selective exhaust gas recirculation for carbon capture with gas turbines - This collaborative project, through the UK-CCS consortium, studies the influence of exhaust gas recirculation on the gas turbine combustion process to optimise the overall system performance.

AGTC (EPSRC): Advanced gas turbine cycles for high efficiency and sustainable future conventional generation - This collaborative project with Imperial College aims to study and optimise potential advanced power cycles, improving cycle efficiency and developing new diagnostics for the gas turbine sector.

DyLOTTA (EPSRC): Dynamic Loading on Turbines in Tidal Array

“Tidal array cost reduction: Testing a removable nacelle design for DeltaStream Technology”(Innovate-UK)


FLEXIS (EU): Flexible Integrated Energy Systems - This collaborative project across various disciplines and institutions aims to expand energy systems research within Wales. The collaboration comprises strong, complementary energy-focused groups from Cardiff, Swansea and University of South Wales.

Decoupled Green Energy Supply (Innovate-UK): Wind-Ammonia Integrated Energy System - This collaborative project with Siemens and Oxford University aims to develop an integrated energy system demonstration comprising wind and engine power generation with intermediate chemical energy storage via ammonia.

TATA (Industry): Fuels Characterisation for the Steel Industry - This industrial funded project investigates and characterises solid fuels utilised within the steel industry for process optimisation.

PM Characterisaiton (EU): Development of a European environmental model suite for aviation - This collaborative project with Rolls-Royce and European Aviation Safety Agency develops and operates an EU system for measurement of aviation particulate matter.


  • European Combustion Meeting (ECM, 2011)


  • The Gas Turbine Research Centre (formerly owned by the UK Government defence research agency, subsequently QinetiQ), offering a range of high pressure/temperature research facilities with optical access
  • The EU measurement system for non-volatile particulate matter.
    Also broad range of analysis techniques for emission characterisation
  • TATA ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Energy and Waste Management
  • Broad range of laser diagnostic techniques for non-intrusive measurement of single and two-phase fluid systems (PLIF, Chemi-luminescence, PDA, LDA, PIV, etc.)
  • Atmospheric combustion research laboratory (c 1MW research facilities)
  • Dedicated optical high-pressure, high/cold-temperature (HP-HT) spray rig
  • Range of facilities for flame/shock propagation including flame acceleration duct and shock tube
  • A range of fundamental swirl, vortex and generation rigs, and optical cloud combustors
  • Bespoke numerical models for modelling turbulent, free-boundary two-phase and visco-elastic problems

Next steps


Research that matters

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Postgraduate research

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