Faculty of Engineering

Image of Rabah Boukhanouf

Rabah Boukhanouf

Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering



My research and teaching experience span the field of energy efficient and sustainable technologies with a particular focus on application in built environment. I completed my Doctorate degree from the University of Manchester, UK in 1996 and then I worked as a researcher in academia and industry for over four years. In 2000, I joined the University of Nottingham where I worked on a number of research projects funded by industry and government research councils. These include design, simulation and testing thermal performance of passive and active heating and cooling systems including co- and tri-generation systems, adsorption and absorption systems, evaporative cooling systems, heat pumps, and other advanced heat transfer enabling technologies. Currently, I am a lecturer of sustainable energy technology and a member of Building, Energy and Environment (BEE) Research Group. I completed the supervision of over 10 PhD thesis and have currently 6 PhD students at various stages of their research projects. I published a number of Journal papers, book chapters and conference papers. I am also named the inventor on 6 UK and International Patents.

Buildings, Energy and Environment Research Group.

Expertise Summary

My professional expertise encompasses design, modeling and experimentation of energy efficient systems and allied enabling technologies. These include heating, ventilation, air conditioning, heat recovery (HVAC) technologies, heat transfer enabling technologies (heat pipes, heat and mass exchangers), small scale heat and power generation systems. I have also extensive experience in the use of various computer tools/ software packages such as Matlab, Flow3D, FluidFlow and EnergyPro for technical and economic feasibility assessment of low carbon technologies.

Teaching Summary

my teaching experience spans over 13 years both at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. my main teaching interests are in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Technologies with particular focus on Built… read more

Research Summary

I have broad research interests in energy efficient and sustainable technologies with a focus on application in the built environment.

1) Low temperature community heat networks (LTHN)


Decarbonising the heat sector is central to the UK and EU countries energy policy agenda in mitigating climate change effects and working towards a carbon neutral society. The aim of the work is to identify the optimum supply and return temperatures to operate DH networks and heating systems in buildings. An alternative methodology was developed to investigate and plan the implementation of low temperature district heating (LTDH) in existing buildings with traditional high temperature radiators.

2) Regenerative Evaporative Cooling


Energy consumption for thermal comfort in buildings in hot and dry climates make up to 50% (rising to 70% in typical mid-afternoon) of total demand for power. This market is traditionally served by vapour compression systems, which are energy intensive and the energy performance affected by elevated ambient temperatures. Inevitably, at peak load demand, electricity grids reliability is affected, putting strenuous financial strains to increase power generation spare capacity. In addition, conventional air conditioning systems contribute directly and indirectly to emission of global warming causing greenhouse gases and carry health risks such as allergies and asthma for building occupants

The aim of this study is to develop a new configuration of heat pipe based indirect evaporative cooling system. The basic mechanical design is centred on the regenerative configuration of IEC system which integrates porous ceramic tubes as wetting media materials and tubular heat pipes in a compact modular heat and mass transfer exchanger (HPHMX).

Both experimental and theoretical results show that the system can be an energy efficient alternative for traditional vapour compression systems. an overall coefficient of performance of (COP) of 6-17 was achieved while water consumption rate reduced.

3) Solid desiccant air dehumidification


Thermal comfort in buildings is greatly affected with air relative humidity. In conventional vapour compression air conditioning systems, air moisture content is reduced through the process of air dehumidification by cooling it below its saturation temperature before reheating it, an energy intensive strategy.

the aim of this work is to develop a novel and compact design of an air dehumidification system. the system uses enhanced heat and mass transfer processes by limiting the heat of adsorption during the adsoption cycle. A mathematical model for complex heat and mass transfer processes have been developed and validated experimentally.


Selected Publications


my teaching experience spans over 13 years both at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. my main teaching interests are in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Technologies with particular focus on Built Environment. I convene and deliver taught Modules on: Energy Efficient Systems/Technologies, Combined Heat and Power (Co-generation) systems, and Control Systems for Buildings. I am a recognized visiting lecturer at other universities and also served as External examiner.

Past Research

  • Design, Modeling, and testing a micro-scale CHP systems for generation of heat and power.

  • Design, modelling and testing of a passive heating/cooling adsorption heat pump system.

  • Organic Rankine cycle using solar thermal collector technology.

  • Design and testing of a thermoelectric heat recovery/heat pump system.

  • Advanced thermal management of electronic cooling systems using vapour chambers.

  • Design, modeling and testing of a Trigen system using Small Scale DACHS CHP unit.

Future Research

Some of the challenging issues the built environment is facing is reducing energy consumption in buildings particularly heat energy. as building standards become more stringent on thermal performance of existing and refurbished buildings, current practices of high temperature heating systems designs may be rendered absolute. low temperature heat sources, renewable sources and waste heat from industrial processes integrated into a low temperature heat distribution systems will become increasingly feasible in many communities.

In countries of the world with high temperature climates, it is increasingly recognized that current air conditioning systems are not sustainable and more environmentally benign and novel cooling techniques are required to reduce the huge demand for power. therefore, passive cooling systems with novel materials is a research area where further development will be the focuse.

Faculty of Engineering

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contacts: Please see our 'Contact us' page