Hydrogen is set to play an ever greater role in society, from decarbonising industry, domestic boilers and even vehicles.

The hydrogen research network at Cranfield University is a collective of academic, technical and research experts covering the whole supply chain of hydrogen: production, storage, transportation, utilisation, and policy.

Below you will find further information about our leading expertise in these areas and our track record in hydrogen.

Production and storage

Dr Peter Clough - Lecturer in Energy Engineering

Dr Clough’s main research focus is based on hydrogen production via thermochemical pathways with combined carbon capture and storage. In particular, sorbent enhanced steam methane reforming, which forms the technology basis for the HyPER project (a £7.5m project funded by BEIS), for which he is a co-investigator. You can find more information on the project website and follow updates on Twitter.

His research group leads catalytic material and CO2 sorbent development and testing, with the application of machine learning techniques to aid their research.

Dr Luca Alibardi - Academic Fellow in Separation Processes

Dr Alibardi has expertise in the biological production of hydrogen by dark fermentation from organic waste, sludge and residues. His current activities focus on exploring the possibility to intensify bioprocesses by the integration with cloth filtration. He is also interested in identifying the role of biological hydrogen production and fermentation in a waste biorefinery chain to maximise value recovery from organic residues.

Dr Ali Nabavi - Lecturer in Energy Systems

Dr Nabavi’s main research is based on reducing the carbon footprint of energy systems using carbon capture, fuel cells and process intensification. His expertise covers the development of functional CO2 sorbents, solid oxide-based energy systems and computational modelling of thermochemical processes. He is also involved in a BEIS-funded project, Combined Energy Recovery and CO2 Removal (£357k over three years), and has previously led an Innovate UK grant (£511k over two years) with Origen Power entitled Balanced Energy Network.


Dr Da Huo - Lecturer in Energy Systems Intelligence

Dr Huo’s research experience covers the operation and planning of flexible resources, power distribution systems, integrated electricity-hydrogen-thermal systems (whole energy systems), and renewable energy integration to facilitate the transition towards net-zero from the perspectives of network security, cost-effectiveness, reliability and resilience. He is also interested in the application of Artificial Intelligence methods and cybersecurity analysis for energy systems.


Dr Yigeng Xu - Senior Lecturer in Structures

Dr Xu’s main research focus is based on structural integrity prediction under operational conditions, which includes the study of hydrogen-assisted cracking and hydrogen-induced cracking on the safety of machinery for the production, transport and storage of hydrogen. His research group works on the modelling and testing to understand the variety and complexity of mechanisms that can lead to hydrogen embrittlement, with the aim of developing engineering tools for reliable life prediction for the industry.

Dr Zeeshan Rana - Lecturer in Computational Engineering

Dr Rana is interested in exploring the dynamics of H2 gas and its flow through a system at high speeds, analysing flow parameters, such as pressure for the purpose of prediction. Furthermore, he is interested in using machine vision based technologies for the investigation of leakage of H2 from tanks and computer/machine vision based automated online inspection.

Jon Horsley - Transport Systems Development Manager

Jon works at Cranfield bringing together collaborative R&D and commercial projects for the Transport Systems theme – covering automotive, aerospace, and other transport modes. His background is in alternative automotive powertrain and fuels, together with time spent in the Energy sector working to bring H2 into transport in an innovative but pragmatic way. Jon would be very happy to connect with other universities and commercial organisations to work together on H2 related projects to progress knowledge and the UK position globally in H2.

Hydrogen for aviation

Dr Bobby Sethi - Senior Lecturer in Gas Turbine Combustion and Environmental Impact

Dr Sethi is based in the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering. He is the coordinator of the ~€4m EU H2020 project Enabling Cryogenic Hydrogen-Based CO2-free Air Transport (ENABLEH2). The ENABLEH2 project consortium and industry advisory board comprise several key EU civil aviation stakeholders, including aircraft and propulsion system OEMs, airlines, an international airport, energy and power companies, aviation legislative bodies and universities. You can find out more from this video .

Dr Devaiah Nalianda - Lecturer in Gas Turbine Engineering and Technology

Dr Nalianda’s research interests lie in developing and facilitating concepts to enable utilisation of liquid hydrogen as a cryogenic fuel (and technology enabler) and to further assess the potential of utilising these technologies with hybrid and turbo-electric propulsion on future civil aircraft. For this purpose, his work is centred around developing techno-economic environmental risk assessment frameworks for simulation and assessment of integrated aircraft and propulsion concepts, and experimental rigs for research validation. He is currently involved in the ENABLEH2 research project as deputy coordinator and work package lead for technology evaluation. He is also the PI on the H2020 CleanSky2 project UTOPEA (starting September 2020), which is focused on assessment and investigation of ultra-high bypass ratio engines and the performance and emissions implications of utilising hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

Professor Pericles Pilidis - Head of the Thermal Power and Propulsion Engineering Centre

Professor Pilidis advocates that hydrogen as a civil aviation fuel is unavoidable. He has set this topic as a strategic ambition of the whole centre, including investments in facilities, EU projects, doctoral research and promoting Thermal Power MSc projects in hydrogen. Professor Pilidis had an involvement in the EU Cryoplane project and is supporting the ENABLEH2 H2020 project.

Professor Pilidis has recently featured in an article on the BBC where he discusses his view about hydrogen for aviation.

Dr Xiaoxiao Sun - Research Fellow in Hydrogen Micromix Combustion

Dr Sun is based in the Propulsion Engineering Centre. She is currently the work package leader of the ENABLEH2 hydrogen micromix combustion work package and is leading the numerical and experimental research on hydrogen micromix combustion systems. Her research interest is mainly focused on the preliminary design and simulation of gas turbine low emissions combustors with both gaseous and liquid fuels, including analyses on fuel injection, heat transfer and emissions prediction.

Dr Craig Lawson - Senior Lecturer in Airframe Systems

Dr Lawson is interested in aircraft fuel systems and electrical power systems for H2 aircraft; systems integration with other aircraft systems and structure for H2 aircraft; and aircraft performance and operational issues.

Professor Howard Smith - Professor of Aircraft Design

Professor Smith is interested in the conceptual design of H2 fuelled aircraft, the impact of H2 fuel on aircraft design and solutions to packaging issues, operational issues and performance.

Dr Yiguang Li - Reader in Gas Turbine Technology

Dr Li’s relevant research interests relating to H2 applications are gas turbine performance simulation and analysis of using alternative fuels,such as hydrogen.

Dr James Whidborne - Reader in Control Engineering

Dr Whidborne is interested in new control and stability problems arising in H2 aircraft, in particular issues relating to feedback control for for stabilisation and sensitivity reduction of hydrogen reaction and combustion, flow control and optimal operation and control of the engines and aircraft under NOX and contrail generation constraints.