Lead Investigator

Dr. Robert A. Taylor

My main research interest is in the development of ′next generation′ solar thermal collectors. Drawing on the fields of heat transfer and nanotechnology, I am researching new/novel working fluids and materials for solar systems. In essence, my main goal is to provide a more efficient or more economic coupling between solar energy and useful thermal and/or electrical energy.

2011         Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Arizona State University
2005         M.Sc. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri
2004         B.Sc. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri

My CV: Curriculum Vitae

Email: Robert.Taylor@UNSW.edu.au

Postdoctoral Scholars


Graduate Students

Hamed Riazi

I am interested in the development of micro scale solar thermal power plants. Aiming for high efficiency
plants with lower capital cost, my research focuses on combined cycles with novel thermal storage

2012-Now          Ph.D candidate, Mechanical Engineering, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
2010-2012         M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
2004-2008         B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

Email: h.riazi@unsw.edu.au

Edward Law

Edward began his PhD in 2013 on the application of solar energy forecasting to optimise the operation of concentrated solar thermal power plants. His main area of interest is in solar energy systems.

2012         B.E. (Hons I) in Renewable Energy Engineering, UNSW

Email: edward.law@student.unsw.edu.au

Ali Shirazi

Ali is a full time PhD student at UNSW. His current research topic is focused on modeling and optimization of concentrated solar thermal systems for air-conditioning applications. His main interests include heat transfer, alternative/renewable energy, thermo-economic and exergetic analyses of thermal systems, thermal energy storage systems, HVAC and refrigeration systems, and fuel cells.

Email: Ali.shirazee@gmail.com

Felipe Crisostomo

Felipe's research work is focused in the development of 'next generation' solar technologies. Specifically he is investigating the use of multilayer dichroic mirrors and nanofluid based optical filters as spectral beam splitting devices in solar hybrid photovoltaic-thermal collectors.

2011         M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Chile
2010         B.E. Mechanical Engineering, University of Chile

E-mail: felipecrisostomom@gmail.com

Tanzeen Sultana

Tanzeen is a final year PhD student. As such, she is finalizing work on her topic, 'An experimental and computational study of a solar micro-concentrating collector.' Her research interests are in Solar thermal energy design and optimization,heat transfer, renewable energy, and the integration of CFD and laser measurement experimental systems (PIV).

2010-2012         Academic lecturer and tutor, UNSW
2008                   M.S. Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, UNSW
2004                   B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, BUET

Email: Tanzeen.s@student.unsw.edu.au

Xiaoguang (Nelson) Gu

Nelson's current research topic is focussed on the design and fabrication of Micro-solar Collector for Hydrogen Production in Fuel Cells. Nelson has extensive experience in micro-fabrication, vacuuum packaging, and the thermal sciences.

2011         M.E. from the Vacuum and Fluid Engineering Center, Northeastern University, China
2009         B.E. in Vacuum Science & Technology, Notheastern University, China

Email: nelsonzoeki@163.com

Nick Bohrema

Nick is working with an Australian concentrating solar thermal development company, Vast Solar, to build cost-effective and efficient solar tower systems with thermal storage. Nick recieved a prestigious PhD scholarship from the Australian Solar Institute for his work with Vast Solar.

Yasitha Hewakuruppu

Yasitha is a graduate from the University of Sydney. His main interests are in the areas of thermodynamics, heat transfer and energy. Currently he is doing PhD research on nanofluids which can be used for tumor hyperthermia. Specifically he is looking at the optical properties and behavior of nanofluids in such an application.

Email: Yasitha.Hewakuruppu@gmail.com

Yuebin Zhao

Yuebin's main research interests are solar cooling/heating system design and optimization in low energy buildings, climate effect on solar thermal system design, and modeling and simulation of solar system and low energy building.

2012         B.E. Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, UNSW
2012         B.E. Optical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

Email: Yuebin_Zhao@UNSW.edu.au

Collaborating PhD Students

Wei (Wade) Lv

Wei Lv was born in China in 1988. He pursued a B.S degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2010. After that, he joined Arizona State University as a Master's student in Mechanical Engineering. He serves as a Research Assistant in Prof. Patrick Phelan's solar nanofluids group. His current research focuses on the spectral radiative properties of plasmonic nanoparticles multifunctional nanostructures and their suspensions (nanofluids).

Soochan Lee

Soochan Lee received a Bachelor's degree from Kyungwon University in South Korea and a Master's degree from Yonsei University in South Korea. In 2010, he joined Arizona State University as a Ph.D student in Mechanical Engineering. His current research focuses on boiling experiment using nanofluids in Prof. Pat Phelan's Nanoscale Transport Processes & Sustainable Energy Laboratories.

Andrey Gunawan

Andrey received his B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Institut Teknologi Bandung (Indonesia) in 2008, and his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California, US) in 2010. He is currently working on getting his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Phelan. His research focuses on thermogalvanics/thermo-electrochemical cells, heat and mass (ionic) transfer in liquids, and solar/thermal energy conversion using nanofluids. He was a Teaching Assistant and a lab instructor for a freshmen class - 'Introduction to Engineering' - in Spring 2011. His short CV can be found at http://www.public.asu.edu/~agunawa2/

Vikrant Khullar

Vikrant's research interests include exploring new innovative ideas of harvesting solar radiant energy. In particular he is interested in exploring the idea of harvesting the solar radiant energy through usage of nanofluid-based concentrating parabolic solar collectors. Dispersing trace amounts of nanoparticles into the base-fluid has significant impact on the optical as well as thermo-physical properties of the base-fluid. This characteristic can be utilized in effectively capturing as well as transporting the solar radiant energy.

Research and Technical Staff

Mr. Alex Litvak

Alex is the officer-in-charge of both the heat transfer and solar laboratory. His long service at UNSW make him an invaluable member of the team. Alex has many years of experience as a member of UNSW's permanent technical staff and has an excellent track record including a Occupational Health and Safety Award in 2006.

Mr. Karl Morrison

Karl is a research assitant for the solar laboratory at UNSW. He has several years of industrial experience in solar thermal systems and a background in new markets. As such, Karl is interested in developing and deploying solar thermal energy in Australia and around the world. His interest and background are a perfect fit for his current position at UNSW where he assists postgrad and undergraduate students to design, procure, and install solar testing equipment. Simultaneously, Karl studying to finish mechanical engineering degree at UNSW.

Undergraduate Students

Poojan Modi

Poojan is a final year student for Renewable Energy Engineering. His thesis topic is based on investigating the appropriate nano-fluid filter that would have specific optical properties of absorbing and transmitting light at different range of wavelengths. This fluid is mainly going to be used for the optimization of hybrid PV/T system.

Gibson Ng

Gibson is looking at diffusion in micro-channels. The aim of his research is to investigate the diffusion of small particles in micro and nano-channels located in a silicon chip. This investigation will develop a fundamental understanding the process of diffusion into a channel or pore structure. This understanding will assist in developing filtration for harmful environmental particles.

Felicia Theodora

Felicia is a fourth year undergraduate student of Photovoltaics engineering. She is undertaking a project on the optimisation of Nanofluid in Solar Thermal dish collector as her thesis topic. One of her tasks is to replace the conventional working fluids in the solar thermal dish system with fluid with addition of nanoparticle.

Thiran Perera

Thiran is a final year thesis student with a focus on resistance analysis of the University's SunSwift Solar Car.

Albert Ng

Albert is a final year Photovoltaics and Solar Energy Engineering student. He is passionate about sustainability in the built environment, and is particularly interested in buildings that utilise innovative sustainable design without sacrificing aesthetics or being too imposing. For his thesis, he is undertaking a topic on solar cooling, which he hopes will lead to an increase in its use and lower energy consumption in buildings.

Several other undergraduate thesis students are working on projects in our group, but they were too busy working hard on their projects to get together a bio...For more info. contact Dr. Taylor

Practicum Exchange Students

Matt Hoffman

As a visiting Fulbright Scholar from the US, Matt's research is dedicated to investigating heat loss mechanisms and quantifying thermal efficiency in high-temperature solar collectors. His experiment-oriented work has applied laser diagnostics and infrared spectroscopy, and he is currently developing a new test facility for roof-top applications. Outside of work his interests include triathlon racing and bushwalking.

Remi Granjon

Remi is a visiting practicum student from INSA-Lyon, France. His research, while at UNSW is dedicated to solar cooling systems in different climates. He is co-advised in this project by Francoise Burgun - a visiting scholar from CEA in France.

Fabienne Bremond

Fabienne is a practicum exchange student from INSA-Lyon, France. Her research interests are in renewable energy. Her project while at UNSW will be dedicated towards designing and testing high temperature nanofluids for solar applications.


Florian Hess

Florian's thesis project was devoted to concentrating solar dish design and tracking systems for high temperature applications. Florian also served as an academic tutor for Mechanical Engineering and a research assistant for Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. Florian is now a leading engineer at a commercial solar design and installation company.

Thomas Milthorpe

Thomas is a final year student for Renewable energy engineering. He's currently undertaking a thesis concerning passive solar tracking, which fits well with his research interest of bringing renewable energy technology up to a level which is competitive with conventional (fossil based) energy. Thomas is interested in sustainable practices and more specifically, distributed electricity generation.

William Overmann

Willie worked with Dr. Taylor at Arizona State University in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. He researched and wrote his Master's thesis on the feasibility of a night time sky radiator using direct fluid emission. Willie currently works as an energy engineer in Dayton, Ohio for Energy Optimizers, USA.

Mark Dannemand

Mark conducted his master's research on solar concentrating collectors. His modelling work and design has been the foundation for several subsequent projects.

Academic Collaborators

Dr. Patrick Phelan

Dr. Phelan's research interests are in the thermal sciences, including nanoscale transport processes; sustainable energy systems, particularly solar thermal energy and solar-powered cooling; and environmental heat transfer, especially urban heat islands and associated impacts on public health. He is the Associate Director of the National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations for Urban Climate + Energy, where SMART = Sustainable Materials And Renewable Technologies. He also directs the Nanoscale Transport Processes & Sustainable Energy Laboratories. Dr. Phelan is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, in which he previously served as the Chair of the K-18 Committee on Low-Temperature Heat Transfer. He has also been a Motorola-ASU Summer Faculty Fellow, and a Summer Faculty Research Participant at the Argonne National Laboratory. Pat's honors, awards, and appointments include an NSF CAREER Award, and his present appointment as the Director of the NSF Thermal Transport Processes Program (until the summer of 2008). Together with his co-authors he received a Best Paper Award for the Heating and Cooling Applications and Analysis Track at the Energy Sustainability Conference, ASME Solar Energy Division. He is also an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Heat Transfer (since January 2008).

Dr. Todd P. Otanicar

Dr. Otanicar received his PhD from Arizona State University in 2009 with a focus on nanoparticles applied to solar thermal collectors. Since then the research has expanded to the development of innovative nanostructures for fluid dispersion to enhance energy systems while also bridging out to the macro scale and focusing on the intersection of renewable energy systems with buildings, the utility grid and the economy.

Dr. Himanshu Tyagi

Dr. Tyagi is an Assistant Professor at Mechanical, Materials & Energy Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar. He has previously worked in the Steam Turbine Design Division of Siemens (in Germany & India) and in the Thermal & Fluids Core Competency group of Intel (in USA). He got his PhD from Arizona State University in the field of heat transfer, and specifically looked at the radiative & ignition properties of nanofluids. He and his co-workers proposed the concept of direct absorption solar collectors using nanofluids which won the Best paper award at the ASME Energy Sustainability Conference at Long Beach, CA. Prior to his PhD he obtained his Masters from University of Windsor, Canada and his Bachelors from IIT Delhi both in Mechanical Engineering. At present he is working to develop clean and sustainable energy sources with a team of three graduate students and four undergraduates.

Email Dr. Tyagi: himanshu.tyagi@iitrpr.ac.in

Dr. Sylvain Coulombe

Dr. Sylvain Coulombe is a registered Engineering Physicist and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at McGill University, Canada. His research interests focus on the development of plasma sources and processes for the synthesis of nanostructures and nanofluids, and the production of reactive species. His main application areas are solar energy harvesting, plasma-assisted combustion and plasma medicine.

Dr. Gary Rosengarten

Dr. Rosengarten's research interest is in fundamental and applied transport phenomena (heat and fluid flow) from the macro to the micro and nano scales with two main themes: Solar Thermal Energy and Interface effects on liquid/solid heat transfer. These themes have lead to numerous projects synergistic projects in solar energy, two phase flow, and micro-scale heat transfer.

         Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of New South Wales
         B.Sc. in Physics and B.Eng. (both Honours) at Monash University

Dr. Evatt Hawkes

Dr. Hawkes is an Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow in the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering and the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. His research is focussed on the application of high-fidelity computational approaches to multi-scale and multi-physics problems in the energy arena. The majority of his work concerns the modelling of turbulent combustion and sprays, which is crucial to the prediction of performance and emissions of internal combustion engines. He also works on problems in photovoltaic manufacturing, including laser and electrochemical wafer processing techniques. He has a PhD from the University of Cambridge and prior to joining UNSW worked at the Combustion Research Facility, Sandia National Laboratories, USA.

         Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Cambridge
         B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics and Physics and B.Eng. (both Honours) at University of Western Australia


Dr. Graham Morrison

Graham Morrison has built an international reputation for his work on solar thermal energy applications, simulations methods, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, heat pump simulation. Specifically he has published widely on performance modelling of solar thermal systems ranging from thermosyphon solar water heaters to large solar thermal power systems. He has developed a range of routines for modelling solar water heaters, and commercially available simulation packages for designing solar and heat pump water heating systems (POOLHEAT) and air-conditioning systems (HPRATE). This software has been adopted as the core element of the minimum energy performance scheme for air conditioning systems in Australia.

Graham has established and operated an outdoor solar thermal system test laboratory that has been used extensively by solar collector manufacturers for new product development. The quality of the many measurement techniques developed in the laboratory has been demonstrated by the adoption of these procedures as Australian and International Standards. In addition to the laboratory based approach to the study of solar thermal energy processes, he has developed computer simulation models for a wide range of solar thermal systems. The mathematical models developed have been included in TRNSYS which is the most widely used international simulation program for modelling solar thermal processes. Recent work has concentrated on the development of new concepts for large scale solar thermal power systems.

         Ph.D. in Fluid Mechanics, University of Melbourne
         BE in Mechanical Engineering, University of Melbourne



The group's research interest is in the development of renewable energy harvesting technology. Specifically, seeking to realise next generation working fluids and solar thermal collectors. To develop these technologies, current research is conducted in the fields of heat transfer and micro- and nano-technology. The goal of this work is to 'discover' materials which provide a more efficient coupling (e.g. conversion) between solar energy and useful thermal and/or electrical energy. . Learn more...

Contact Us

Dr. Robert A. Taylor
Phone: (+61 2) 9385-5400
Address: EFE 318
E-mail: Robert.Taylor@unsw.edu.au

Cool Pics


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