Advanced Materials Research Group

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Alastair Stuart

Assistant Professor in Sustainable Engineering, Faculty of Engineering



Alastair Stuart is an acdemic in the department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering and in the University of Nottingham's Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence. Alastair started his career as a Mechanical Engineer in the fabrication industry where he was responsible for the commercial manufacture of pharmaceutical, petrochemical and off-shore pressure regulated equipment. Clients included BP Oil Refinery (Grangemouth), Shell UK, AstraZeneca, Jacobs Engineering and GlaxoSmithKline. Alastair then went on to complete a PhD with Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, in 'The Effects of a Highly Viscous Liquid Phase on Two-Phase Flows.' A core component of this research was the application of analytical and numerical techniques to predict the behaviour of internally flowing fluids. Alastair has an ongoing interest in renewable energy technologies which originates from his undergraduate degree which specialised in energy conversion and power generation. This lead him to join the University of Nottingham in 2011 to work on a project funded by E.ON's International Research Initiative for which he was responsible for the design and testing of an innovative thermal store for concentrated solar power plants.

Expertise Summary

Alastair's main responsibilities include the delivery of research project objectives, coordinating academic and industrial collaboration, the provision of innovative solutions to engineering challenges and the dissemination of research findings. In order to meet the requirements of project deliverables Alastair extensively employs a number of engineering tools, these include:

COMSOL Multiphysics - development of numerical models for the prediction of the performance of prototype systems and the reliable simulation of thermally dependent chemical reactions.

MATLAB - processing and analysing test data. Solving technical engineering problems through iterative calculations.

LabVIEW - authoring data acquisition and monitoring software for specific prototype applications.

Creo Parametric - design and manufacture of prototype systems and related mechanical components.

AutoCAD - design of experimental equipment, support structures and enclosures.

Teaching Summary

Alastair is the module convenor for ENGR4002 Advanced Engineering Research Project Organisation. He also teaches on MMME1029 Materials and Manufacturing.

Research Summary

Alastair's expertise in renewable energy technologies has a strong focus on metal hydrides and their application in solid state hydrogen storage, thermochemical thermal storage and energy conversion… read more

Current Research

Alastair's expertise in renewable energy technologies has a strong focus on metal hydrides and their application in solid state hydrogen storage, thermochemical thermal storage and energy conversion systems.

Solid State H2 Storage - ERA & Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence

In collaboration with the Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence ( the ERA ( is funding the development of a demonstrator for solid state H2 storage technology. The aim of the project is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of integrating solid state H2 storage with electrolysers and fuel cell systems under environmental conditions at a scale applicable to the requirements of end users. Alastair is responsible for the design and installation of the solid state H2 stores, testing stores under specific operating conditions, identifying possible industrial collaboration opportunities and evaluating the performance of the demonstrator in line with the needs of end users.

Thermally-drive Solar Air Conditional (TSAC)

TSAC is an EPRSC funded project (EP/R00143X/1) the aim of which is to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative concept in thermally-driven air conditioning technology. The key objectives are the formulation of suitable metal hydride suspensions, development and testing of a prototype thermally driven AC system and the evaluation of the practical and economic viability of this technology against recognised performance indicators.

This project was devised as a response to a relatively recent surge in the use of AC. Over the last ten years the deployment of AC globally has been exponential resulting in AC being the largest single use of electricity in many major cities across the world. In order to limit the negative impact that this will have on CO2 emissions, an alternative AC technology independent of grid derived electricity is being developed.

Alastair has made key contributions to the TSAC project, which include initiating the project conceptually and writing central components of the project proposal. Alastair's ongoing contributions include testing formulations for the metal hydride suspensions, designing the prototype system, developing a numerical model and disseminating project achievements at conferences.

Past Research

TANK Project

TANK was an Innovate UK funded project (EP/N509851/1) the aim of which was to demonstrate the feasibility of producing cost effective (off the shelf) low pressure solid state hydrogen storage technologies, capable of containing at a pressure of a few bars the equivalent mass of gas to that of a 350 bar pressure cylinder yet in a smaller volumetric footprint. ITM Power reviewed the impact that solid state storage would have on the operation of H2 FCV Refuelling Station, Arcola Energy compared this performance of the store when integrated with a commercially available fuel cell (HYMERA® Hydrogen Fuel Cell Generator) and Luxfer Gas Cylinder demonstrated the feasibility of producing high volume aluminium cylinders suitable for the containment of metal hydride powders on their existing production line. Alastair was responsible for ensuring that the operation of the solid state H2 stores would meet specific operating targets in terms of the delivery rate of H2. This was accomplished by incorporating internal heat management architecture in the form of fins spun from aluminium. The design of the fins meant that they could be installed during the production of the cylinders without compromising on the cylinder mechanical integrity.

Engineering Safe and Efficient Hydride-Based Technologies (ESCHER)

The ESCHER project (EP/K021117/1), was funded as part of the EPSRC's 'SUPERGEN Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Challenges' initiative and devised to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen powered cars through the development of a home refuelling system. The project aim was to deliver a proof of concept H2 home refueller prototype based upon solid state compression. The University of Birmingham was responsible for the development of a metal hydride composition capable of delivering compression up to 350 bar at 120oC. Loughborough University was responsible for the fundamental modelling of hydrogen explosions and the modelling of credible release and combustion scenarios related to using home hydrogen refueller indoors. Nottingham University was responsible for developing and evaluating a Compression System Model. Alastair's responsibilities included the design, construction and validation of a prototype and the development of a numerical model.

High Energy Density Storage for Thermal-solar Advanced Renewable Technologies (HEDSTART)

The HEDSTART project was part of E.ON's 2010 International Research Initiative. The aim of the HEDSTART project was to prove the feasibility a large scale metal hydride based thermal energy store. The project objectives included the development of the metal hydride thermal storage material and the construction and testing of a modular prototype system to demonstrate the concept of a metal hydride thermal storage and enable an assessment to be made of the economic benefits of the technology at an industrial level. Alastair's responsibilities included the detailed specification and conceptual design of a high temperature metal hydride based thermal energy store; development of a numerical model based upon the simultaneous solution of heat transfer and computational fluid dynamic physics; and the design and construction of a dedicated test facility to investigate prototype performance.

PhD - Investigations of Viscous Venting and Treatment of Releases.

Alastair's PhD was a European Commission funded project instigated by European DIERS user group (Design Institute for Emergency Relief Systems). The aim of the project was to address a lack of knowledge regarding the design of piping components for systems handling highly viscous flows e.g., design of pressure relief for a polymerisation reactor in which a runaway reaction has led to the rapid discharging of highly viscous, multiphase mixture. Objectives included improving the level of understanding of the behaviour of the high-viscosity multiphase fluids and improving the confidence with which emergency related pressure relief valves and associated pipeline components are designed to accommodate runaway conditions. Alastair's was responsible for designing and constructing a two-phase test rig which included specialist instrumentation and data acquisition devices, observing two-phase flows under runaway conditions and modelling the flows using analytical formulations and numerical techniques.

Advanced Materials Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD