Profiles of Transition Engineering PhD and Masters Scholars

Research Funding in Energy: $5,969,710 Total

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Transition Engineering began to emerge in 2001 when the AEMS Lab research group at Canterbury University started a research project looking at energy and transport. Dr. Andre Dantas (Civil Engineering), Dr. Susan Krumdieck (Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. Shannon Page (Physics and Mech Eng) developed for the first time an approach to link together the transport energy, access to activities, geographic relationships, transport networks and available modes, and the way oil has resulted in unconstrained thinking in transportation engineering. They also started to investigate how would the essential activities in an urban area be impacted by a fuel shortage, and what would be the risks to wellbeing. The oil shocks of the 1970's had created a flurry of research, but it was mostly about alternative fuels and improved fuel efficiency. Montira Watcharasukarn's PhD thesis developed a novel sim-game survey of travel adaptation to reduced oil use. It was really revolutionary and definitely about 15 years ahead of its time. The research was investigating what would happen if the oil price doubled from $35 to $70 per barrel. All participants and politicians and transport planners and economists thought that was impossible. If you don't remember, oil price went over $100 per barrel on New Year's Day 2008. 

One of the most inventive PhD students in the group, and huge contributor to Transition Engineering has been Dr. Michael Carbahales-Dale, who is now at Clemson University, USA. Mik did pioneering work in Energy Return on Energy Invested and modelling the biophysical economics. 


By 2005 the AEMSLab research group was exploring some heretical ideas on several fronts. Jake Frye modeled the introduction of wind turbines into the microgrid at Scott Base Antarctica which was supplied by jet fuel in diesel generators. His modeling of different numbers of different turbines  demonstrating how integration of intermittent renewables can actually cause higher fossil fuel consumption if the whole system design integration and operation is not done carefully. Jake also looked at voluntary demand participation - could the laundry load for the linens be informed by the availability of wind and matched to the resource?  More linens would need to be purchased so that loads could be curtailed during periods of low wind and put on when the wind was available. Kerstin Eiselbrecher carried out a Masters thesis on the economic model for voluntary demand response in the residential sector. Shannon Page worked on CCS, Hydrogen/Fuel Cells, and Biofuel myth busting. Andy Hamm's PhD thesis was a first-of-a-kind look at sustainable energy development in remote traditional communities from the perspective of the indigenous people. 

Stacy Rendall joined the AEMSLab and built a new kind of model of urban accessibility that provided a measure of how many types of activities like school, shopping, medical were accessible from a given house by different modes. This created a energy accessibility map for a city. Again, this was a first of a kind approach for understanding the relationship between urban form and transport energy. Aline Lange studied the energy and freight situation.  


Students Supervised in Energy Transition Engineering

  1. Patricio Gallardo, Transition of the urban form through strategic transport and property investment case study in Quito Equador, PhD
  2. Daniel Bishop, Transition Engineering for building lighting retrofits, PhD
  3. Neibert Blair, Sustainable Electricity development program for traditional economies, PhD
  4. Ming Bai, Modelling the transportation energy for different urban forms and transition management for rapid vehicle reduction for Beijing, China, PhD
  5. Thomas Montgomery Smith, Local Accessibility and Energy use in Transport, PhD
  6. Richard Wijninckx, Detailed design of low temperature ORC power converter. MS
  7. Sunjin Choi, Dynamic modeling and simulation of low temperature ORC and scroll expanders, PhD
  8. Denny Budisulistyo, Thermo-economic feasibility analysis for low temperature ORC systems, PhD (2016)
  9. Choon Seng Wong, Flexible design method of turbines for ORC’s, PhD (2015)
  10. Michael Southon, Energy Return on Investment and Net Energy Analysis of ORC Power Generation, MS Thesis (2015)
  11. Leighton Taylor, Low Temperature Geothermal ORC System Development Standard, MS Thesis (2015).
  12. Miraz Fulhu, Human Intelligence-Integrated Control System for Hybrid Power Networks for Remote Island, PhD Thesis (2014)
  13. Janice Asuncion, The Geographic Adaptive Potential of freight transportation and production in the context of fuel and emissions constraints, PhD Thesis (2014).
  14. Stacy Rendall, Minimum Energy Transport Activity Analysis from GIS, PhD Thesis (2012)
  15. Nick Yannakis, Economic Optimisation Of Domestic Solar Hot Water For The Commercial Market Using Consol Evacuator Tube Panels, MS Thesis (2012).
  16. Muavi Mohammed, Energy Constraint and Adaptability; Focus on Renewable Energy on Small Islands; Case Study: Fenfushi, Maldives, PhD Thesis (2011).
  17. Sohel Mohammed, Dynamic Model of Geothermal Power Plant, PhD Thesis (2011).
  18. Michael Dale, Global Energy Modelling – A Biophysical Approach (GEMBA), PhD Thesis (2010).  Vice Chancellor’s UC Scholarship,
  19. Samuel Gyamfi, Demand Response in Residential Peak Electricity through ICT Innovation, PhD Thesis (2010).
  20. Montira Watcharasukarn, 3-D Virtual Reality Simulation for Assessment of Constrained Energy Travel Activity Adaptation, PhD Thesis (2010).
  21. Andreas Hamm, Methodology and Modelling Approach for Strategic Sustainability Analysis of Complex Energy-Environment Systems; PhD Thesis (2007). 
  22. Shannon Page, Regenerative PEM Fuel Cell System for UPS: Design, Modelling, and Experimental Verification, PhD Thesis (2007).
  23. Jake Frye, Strategic Analysis and Modelling for Wind Energy, Masters Thesis (2006).
  24. Jamie Wallace, Development of a Commercial Carbon Dioxide Scrubber, PhD Thesis
  25. Michael Saunders, Transport Energy Reliance Analysis, Masters Thesis (2005)