Staff Profile

Professor Brian Agnew

Guest Member of Staff



Brian Agnew has been appointed as Professor of Energy and the Environment at the School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University. He continues as a Guest Member of Staff at Newcastle University until September 2011.


I began work in 1966 as a drawing office apprentice at Rolls-Royce Aero Engine Division, Derby and following ONC studies at Derby College I was sponsored to study a B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering) at Brunel University in 1968. This was a 4 year thin sandwich course involving studying from October to March with the summer spent at Rolls Royce. During this time I worked in several departments engaged with the RB211 development program, Technical Design, Flight Test, Engine Test, Compressor Design. I also worked in the special machine tool design office on ECM. I graduated in the summer of 1972, just after Rolls Royce went into receivership, stayed with them for a further 15 months before enrolling at Kings College London University to study a M.Sc. in Internal Combustion Engineering. This was followed by a Ph.D. at City University examining the formation of exhaust emissions in spark ignition engines. Upon completing the Ph.D. work I was employed for a short period by Delaney Gallay Dynamics in Edgware designing heat exchangers and then by the British Internal Combustion Engine Research Institute where I was Head of the Instrumentation Section. In 1979 I joined the School of Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield Institute of Technology working with Professor Elder on compressor research (mainly for Rolls-Royce). I joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Newcastle in 1984 where I have an interest in heat transfer, internal combustion engines and thermal systems.


Academic Qualifications
B.Tech. Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University, 1972.
M.Sc."Internal Combustion Engineering", Kings College London University, 1974.
Ph.D. "An Experimental and Theoretical Examination of the Combustion Processes in a Reciprocating Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Engine",The City University London, 1981.

Professional Qualifications
Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE)
Chartered Engineer (CEng)
European Engineer (EurIng)
Member Stowarzyszenia Inzynierowi Technikow Mechanikow Polskich (SIMP)


Research Interests

My current research interests broadly cover the following areas:

Thermal Power Systems, Refrigeration, Combined Cycles, Internal Combustion Engines, Finite Time Thermodynamics.

In the early 1990s I took the strategic decision to move away from the then traditional research areas in internal combustion engines (I set up a spark ignition engine laboratory at Newcastle) to focus on combined cycles and especially the impact of ambient conditions, off design operation and component interaction. At the time this work was criticised as being ‘unfasionable’; it is interesting, with the issues around global warming, to see just how relevent this work now is. When can unfashionable be replaced by visionary? My personal research and postgraduate supervision is now entirely by simulation using IPSEpro and other such software. Some details of the cycles combinations examined (such as tri-generation, CHP, Cogas etc.) can be seen in the publications listed below.

Postgraduate Supervision

1. M. Dalichaouch, “A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of an Absorption Refrigeration System for Application with Solar Energy Units”. Ph.D. completed August 1989.
2. M. Bendali-Amor, “Secondary and End wall Losses in an Axial Flow Compressor”. Ph.D. completed January 1992.
3. C. K. Tam, “An Examination of the Combustion Process in a Lean Burn Spark Ignition Engine”. Ph.D. completed April 1994.
4. R. Atan, “Theoretical Study of Absorption Refrigeration based Air Conditioning System for Vehicle Applications”. Ph.D. completed May 1996.
5. M. Mostafavi, “Theoretical and Experimental Study of a Combined Diesel and Vapour Absorption Refrigeration System for Cycle Efficiency Enhancement”. Ph.D. completed April 1996.
6. D. Ventouris, “Diesel Engine Transients”. M.Phil. part time commenced October 1993, completed November 1996.
7. G. Hickman (CASE Student), “Combustion Processes in a Lean Burn Spark Ignition Engine”. Ph.D. completed February 1998.
8. M. Hamza, “The Aerodynamic Design of Motorcycle Crash Helmets”, M.Phil. full time commenced July 1995, completed August 1998.
9. L. Naas, “Aerodynamic Aspects of Finned Tube Heat Exchangers”. M.Phil. full time commenced December 1996, completed May 1998.
10. Mrs. E. H. Betelmal, “An Examination of IRMPD Laser Ignition”. M.Phil. full time commenced December 1996 completed May 1998.
11. A. Alaktiwi, “An Experimental and Theoretical Examination of the Operating Characteristics of an Air-Cooled Lithium Bromide-Water Absorption Refrigeration Machine”. Ph.D. full time commenced May 1996 completed July 2003.
12. M. Talbi, “Advanced Thermal Cycles, Diesel Absorption”. Ph.D. full time commenced June 1996, completed March 2000.
13. K. Y. Ali, “A New Comprehensive Model for Predicting Flow Regimes and Flow Characteristics in Horizontal Two-Phase Flows”, M.Phil. full time commenced June 1997 completed January 2000.
14. E. Halamic, “An Examination of the Performance of Alternative Refrigerants”, M.Phil. part time commenced October 1997 completed September 2001.
15. Mrs. E. H. Betelmal, “Optimisation and Thermo-Economic Analysis of a Brayton-Absorption Cycle”. Ph.D. full time commenced June 2001, completed June 2005.
16. M. Al. Alabdoadaim, “Advanced Thermodynamic Cycles”. Ph.D. full time commenced August 2001, completed January 2005.
17. M. Hamza, “A Study of Road Traffic Accidents, Casualties Injury Patterns in Libya”. Ph.D. full time commenced May 2002, completed April 2005.
18. S. M. Ameli, “Theoretical and Practical Studies to Develop a Heat Pipe Based Cooling System for a High Power Projector Lamp”. M.Phil. full time commenced January 2003, completed June 2004.
19. B. Alyiu, “Thevetia Peruviana as a Source of Bio-Fuel”. Ph.D. Commenced September 2005.
20. M. Bughazem “Advanced Thermodynamic Cycle Simulation and Optimisation” Ph.D. Commenced April 2006.
21. K. Al-Zahrani “Optimisation of Extended Thermodynamic Cycle Combinations”. Ph.D. Commenced January 2007
22. S. Masheiti “Simulation of Integrated Geothermal Based Distributed Energy System in Waddan City, Libya”. Ph.D. Commenced January 2007.
23. E. Halimic “Two phase Heat Transfer in Micro Channels”. Ph.D. Case Studentship, Commenced June 2007.
24. B. Makhdoom, “Micro Generation Systems”. Ph.D. Commenced March 2008.
25. A. El-Sharif “Solar hydrogen Generation”. Ph.D. Commenced July 2008.

Esteem Indicators

Chairman of the North East Region of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Visiting Professor Universiti Teknologi, MARA, Shah Alam, Malysia
Visiting Professor to the Technical University of Wroclaw, Poland.
Visiting Professor to London Southbank University.
Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, 2002, ongoing.
Guest editor of the Journal Applied Thermal Engineering.
Member of the Organising Committee of the International Conference of Heat Powered Cycles.
Member of the Scientific Committee of the Journal of Science & Technologie, 1999, ongoing.
Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Iranian Journal of Science and Technology 1999, ongoing.
Member of Comite Scientifique Sciences B, Revue semestrielle de l'universite Mentouri Constantine-Algerie.
External Examiner, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappali, India: 2008.


Summary of Research Council Awards
EP/F023685/1 Sustainable Innovative Refrigeration and Air conditioning Network
EP/E028705/1 Development of Miniature Refrigeration Systems for Electronics Cooling, with London South Bank University and Oxford University
GR/F10941/01 Development of the Turbosep with Domnik Hunter
GR/D99539/01 Lean burn Combustion with the Ford Motor Company