Contact Dr Ali Nabavi

Areas of expertise

  • Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Conventional & Advanced Fuels
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Low Carbon Technology


Dr Nabavi is Senior Lecturer of Energy Systems at Centre for Renewable and Low Carbon Energy. He is the Director of Advanced Chemical Engineering Course, and Thematic Doctoral Network Lead for Energy and Power. He obtained his MSc in Thermal Power and Fluid Engineering with Distinction from The University of Manchester in 2012, where he worked on the development of numerical models for turbulent impinging and swirling jets. He received his PhD in Energy from Cranfield University in 2016, where he developed emulsion-based selective materials for carbon capture, and utilised CFD modelling to optimise their production processes. He then continued working as a Research Fellow on low-carbon energy systems until his appointment as Lecturer in 2018, where he developed a kW-scale solid oxide fuel cell system integrated with a carbonate looping process for simultaneous power generation and direct air capture.

Dr Nabavi has successfully led the delivery of commercial and research projects in clean and sustainable energy systems, including sorbent developments for separation and purification, novel concept prototyping, technology assessment, and computational modelling.

Research opportunities

Dr Nabavi is currently accepting self-funded PhD and research applications in the following research areas:

1- Development, characterisation, and testing of CO2 sorbents for decarbonisation of flue gases, biogas upgrading to biomethane, hydrogen purification, and direct air capture.

Available facilities:

* Well-equipped material synthesis lab

* Material characterisation facilities

* Gas capture and separation facilities: a number of bench-scale and pilot-scale fixed- and fluidised bed reactors for low- and high temperature (up to 1000 C) gas capture.

2- Modelling and integration of solid oxide fuel cells in transport and industrial processes

Available facilities:

* kW-scale SOFC/SOEC testing rig

* A series of SOFC/SOEC stacks (0.7-5 kW)

* Material characterisation facilities

3- Numerical modelling of

* Gas adsorption, separation, and conversion

* Microscale hydrodynamics, heat transfer, chemical, and electrochemical reaction

* Emulsion formation (microfluidics, membrane, and stirred-tank reactor)

* Process intensification (gas-solid and gas-liquid systems)

* Hydrogen carrier combustion

Available facilities:

* Cranfield's High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities

* A number of commercial CFD software, such as ANSYS Fluent.

Current activities

Dr Nabavi's research combines experimental and computational approaches to develop innovative solutions to advance low-carbon energy systems. A major focus of his research is to apply fundamentals of thermofluid, multiphase flow, and reactive transport processes to:

Carbon capture utilisation and storage - synthesis, characterisation, and bench-to-pilot scale testing of carbon capture materials for industrial carbon dioxide removal, biogas upgrading to biomethane, hydrogen purification, direct air capture, and sustainable fuel production

Microfluidic and lab-on-chip - particle formulation and production, and sorption analysis

Process intensification for energy efficiency - integration of fuel cells in carbon-intensive processes, active intensification of gas-solid processes, and heat transfer enhancement

Reversible solid oxide fuel cell and fuel flexibility - in transport, industrial and energy storage applications

Teaching activities:

Dr Nabavi has a substantial track record of teaching, supervision, and training of students, researchers, and industry delegates, and provides skill training and bespoke courses on the following topics:

Sorption, Separation and Purification towards net-zero target:

* Carbon capture storage (CCS) for industrial carbon dioxide removal, biogas upgrading to biomethane, hydrogen purification, direct air capture

* Production of sustainable fuels

* Low- and high-temperature CO2 capture materials

* Adsorption and absorption principles

* Design of cyclic sorption technologies

* Negative-emission technologies

Thermal Systems Operation and Design

* Conduction and convection heat transfer principles and CFD modelling of thermal systems

* Heat exchanger design and pinch analysis

* Refrigeration and air conditioning design

* Waste heat recovery and thermal storage


Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Innovate UK

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council


Origen Power




Cambridge Engineering Analysis & Design (CEAD)

Oman LNG

Lapwing Energy

Thermal Energy International (UK)


Articles In Journals