Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies

Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies

Our research into energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable heating and cooling, energy management and green buildings contributes to the global drive towards decarbonisation while accelerating economic growth and improving global living standards.

Energy and Environment Institute
Professor Xudong Zhao
Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies

The Challenge

Globally we are facing a climate crisis. Simultaneously, population expansion is driving an explosion in the construction of domestic buildings and business premises, which in turn increase greenhouse gas emissions via their heating and air conditioning systems. As the planet warms, installation of air conditioning systems are predicted to be one of the major causes of greenhouse gas emissions, threatening global decarbonisation targets.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies addresses these issues, through our established research excellence in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable heating and cooling, energy management, and green/low-energy buildings.

The Approach

The Centre operates at the forefront of innovation in sustainable energy, developing new technologies that will shape the fight against climate change. The Centre’s team develop innovative research bids, manage research projects, supervise PhD students and train early career researchers, as well as building links with industry, academia, government departments and research councils.



  • Generate ground-breaking, world-changing, and close-to-market research outcomes.
  • Contribute to UK Research & Innovation Global Challenge strategies.
  • Help develop low-carbon economies that make society richer, healthier and more sustainable.
  • Influence the development of energy-related legislation, strategic plans and guidelines.
  • Contribute to the UK’s talent pipeline through enhanced research training and capacity building in young talent.
  • Develop broad collaborative links between academia, industry and government, both nationally and internationally.
  • Contribute to the clean growth elements of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.


The Centre’s research outputs contribute to global decarbonisation targets via reduced fossil fuel consumption, as well as contributing to accelerated economic growth, to improvements in air quality and an enhanced living standard across the UK and world.


Data centre

A Super Performance Dew Point Cooler for Data Centres

BEIS Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator funded project with NPS Humber Ltd and AIRCO Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Ltd to construct a specialist data centre dew point cooler and demonstrate its energy performance and cooling effectiveness in Hull’s Maritime Data Centre.

Data centre

Data Centre Air Cooler

Development of a super-performance Dew Point Air Cooler for the data centre at the University of Hull’s new Aura Innovation Centre.

Air conditioning

Loop-Heat-Pipe (LHP)-based data centre heat removal and recovery system

Collaboration with global manufacturer Hisense Europe to develop an effective Loop-Heat-Pipe (LHP)-based heat removal and recovery system which enables data centres to reduce cooling system energy consumption.


Low Carbon Heating Systems

A major project funded by BEIS’ Low Carbon Heating Technology Innovation Fund focusing on low carbon heating systems suitable for retrofitting to existing public buildings. Our researchers are employing a highly innovative solar panel array system and a novel mixed indoor/outdoor air source heat pump.

Data centre

Advanced energy management for urban districts

A UK-Guangdong collaborative project to develop an advanced cloud-computing platform for urban/district energy & carbon management and eco-design, incorporating renewable energy sources and energy storage technologies. The project aims to enable a 25% reduction in fossil fuel energy usage, 30% reduction in carbon emissions, and 10% increase in renewable energy application.


Hybrid photovoltaic–thermoelectric power generation system

EU Horizon 2020 funded project to design, construct and test a prototype for a novel hybrid photovoltaic–thermoelectric prototype that, compared to the existing PV-TE systems, has a significantly lower cost while the electrical output remains the same.

Data centre

Low energy dew point cooling for computing data centres

EU Horizon 2020 project to develop, test and optimise a prototype low energy, CDC dew point air cooler suitable for global application but focusing specifically on the UK and China.

View all projects


March 2017 –
Feb 2019

A high efficiency, low cost and building integrate-able solar photovoltaic /thermal (PV/T) system for space heating, hot water and power supply



£2 million

Sep 2016
- Sep 2020

A hybrid solar/ground sourced heat and power system for buildings

Shanxi Jingxu Renewable Energy Co. Ltd

Principal Investigator


Jan 2015
- Dec 2017

R&D and demonstration of a novel, high efficient micro-channel PV/T module based solar thermal and power system for countryside buildings

Science and Technology Bureau, Shanxi Province, China


5 m RMB

Sep 2016
- Sep 2020

Investigation of a novel solar PV/Micro-Channel-Loop-Heat-Pipe (PV/MCLHP) heat and power system

China CSC /Hull PhD Scholarship

Principal Investigator




Outputs and publications

Zhou J, Ma X, Zhao X, Yuan Y, Yu M, Li J. Numerical simulation and experimental validation of a micro-channel PV/T modules based direct-expansion solar heat pump system. Renew Energy 2020;145:1992–2004. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.07.049.

Zhou J, Zhao X, Yuan Y, Li J, Yu M, Fan Y. Operational performance of a novel heat pump coupled with mini-channel PV/T and thermal panel in low solar radiation. Energy Built Environ 2020;1:50–9. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbenv.2019.08.001.

Akhlaghi YG, Ma X, Zhao X, Shittu S, Li J. A statistical model for dew point air cooler based on the multiple polynomial regression approach. Energy 2019;181:868–81. doi:10.1016/j.energy.2019.05.213.

Akhlaghi YG, Zhao X, Shittu S, Badiei A, Cattaneo MEG V, Ma X. Statistical investigation of a dehumidification system performance using Gaussian process regression. Energy Build 2019;202:109406. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2019.109406.

Diallo TMO, Yu M, Zhou J, Zhao X, Shittu S, Li G, et al. Energy performance analysis of a novel solar PVT loop heat pipe employing a micr

View all publications

Research Students

Min Yu

Investigation of a novel solar PV/Micro-Channel-Loop-Heat-Pipe (PV/MCLHP) heat and power system

X. Zhao, P. Rubini

Yi Fan

A hybrid solar/ground sourced heat and power system for buildings

X. Zhao, P. Rubini

Yousef Golizadeh Akhlaghi

Development of the design and optimisation tool for a novel data-centre based dew point air conditioning system

X. Zhao, X. Ma

Samson Shittu

Optimum control strategy for a novel data-centre based dew point air conditioning system

X. Zhao, X. Ma

Yu Cui

Study of a novel integrated, cloud-computing based district-scale energy and environment management system

X. Zhao

Peng Qin

An intelligent energy management system for city and district

Z. Zhu, X. Zhao

Mohammed Alsaleem

A novel data centre cooling system using a novel micro-channel loop heat pipe system

X. Ma, X. Zhao



Our research impacts the world. Come and join us.

Be part of a vibrant research community at the University of Hull.