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The University of Southampton

Thermal Energy Group

Research in thermal energy in Southampton dates back to the 19th century and this work has since inspired numerous theoretical, experimental and computational studies.

Now at the beginning of the 21st century, thermal energy research has never been more relevant to the wellbeing and sustainability of humankind. Combustion, for example, still meets over 80 per cent of human needs for energy and will remain a dominant mode of energy conversion for the foreseeable future. Yet global climate change caused by combustion and the non-renewable nature of fossil fuels set the twin challenges of maximising energy efficiency and minimizing CO2 and other emissions, which remain as one of the most difficult scientific and engineering problems.

The study of thermal energy is fundamental to understanding numerous energy conversion processes in industry, biosystems and nature. Fundamental subjects like thermodynamics, heat transfer and thermal fluids also serve as the underpinning science for many other energy technologies such as fuel cells and solar thermal systems. A wide range of topics are pursued in the thermal energy laboratory that address these pressing issues of energy, sustainability, security, social and environmental impact. 

Current research areas

Thermofluids engineering fundamentals investigating:

Thermal energy technologies investigating:

Multiscale, multiphysics modelling and simulation investigating:

Nanoscale and microscale thermofluids focused on:

Environmental impact and safety in relation to:


Our sponsors include BRE, BOC, DSTL, EPSRC, Health and Safety Executive, the Royal Society, Shell Global Solutions.


Since 2006 the group has been part of the UK Consortium on Computational Combustion for Engineering Applications and the UK Turbulence Consortium.  Through these consortiums the group has collaborated with colleagues from several different universities, and had access to substantial computing resources on national teraflop computers HPCx and HECToR.

Visualization of thermal energy

Our research strengths

Electrochemical engineering

Solar energy

Maritime energy

Electromechanical energy

Materials for energy

Energy management and control

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