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Marie Curie Researcher in the Department of Engineering


Dr Shunmin Zhu is a Marie Curie Fellow working at the Department of Engineering, Durham University. Before joining Durham University, he worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Clean Energy Processes Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London and the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry (TIPC), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), respectively. Dr Zhu received his Ph.D. degree (Outstanding Graduate Award) from TIPC, CAS in 2020. In 2019, he also gained research experience at the University of Sussex sponsored by the UK-China Newton Fund Ph.D. placement program.

Dr Zhu’s research aims to develop advanced thermal energy technologies for providing power, heating and cooling that can minimize global primary-energy use and reduce CO2 emissions for a sustainable future.  Specifically, his research interests include free-piston internal/external combustion and free-piston Stirling engines, novel thermoacoustic power generation technologies, and hybrid renewable energy systems. To date, Dr. Zhu has received 8 research grants from European Commission, British Council, National Natural Science Foundation of China and CAS on energy conversion technologies and systems. He is a holder of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. Dr Zhu has published more than thirty peer-reviewed papers in internationally recognized journals (e.g. Cell Reports Physical Science, Applied Physic Letters, Applied Energy, and Energy Conversion and Management) and granted more than ten patents. His researches have been featured in the world’s leading scientific media such as ‘Advances in Engineering’, ‘EurekAlert’, ‘PhysOrg’, ‘PV magazine’, and so on. In addition, Dr Zhu is serving as an Associate Editor of the journal Frontiers in Thermal Engineering, and is currently leading a special issue named ‘Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems for Power, Heating, and Cooling’ in this journal with other 8 guest editors.


  1. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: Free-piston Reciprocating Joule-cycle Engine-based Micro-combined Heat and Power System (Grant No.101026323). Total value: 224,933.76 EUR.
  2. National Natural Science Foundation of China, Study on the working mechanism of thermoacoustically driven liquid metal magnetohydrodynamic generator(Grant No.52306031). Total value: 300,000 CNY. Role: PI
  3.  Foundation of Key Laboratory of Cryogenics, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences: Study on the Working Mechanism of Thermoacoustic Magnetohydrodynamic Generator (Grant No. CRYOQN202101). Total value: 50,000 CNY. Role: PI
  4. Special Research Assistant Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences: Novel Thermoacoustic Electric Generator. Total value: 600,000 CNY. Role: PI
  5. Fundamental Research on Liquid Metal Magnetohydrodynamic Generator. Total value: 500,000 CNY. Role: PI
  6. China Postdoctoral Council Project: A Small-Scale/Distributed CHP System that Hybridises Stirling Engine and Solar Photovoltaic-Thermal Collector (Grant No. 2020051). Total value: 300,000 CNY. Role: PI
  7. A Silent Generator (a static thermomagnetic generator) without Moving Parts. Total value: 1,000,000 CNY. Role: PI
  8. Newton Fund PhD Placement Grant (British Council): Modelling and Measurement of a Novel Moving Magnet Linear Compressor/Generator of Stirling Engine for CHP Application (Grant No. 201804910919) Total value: £8,400.

Other Research Activities

  • Special Session (Thermoacoustic Energy Harvesting and Refrigeration) Organizer of the 5th International Conference on Vibration and Energy Harvesting Applications, Auckland, New Zealand, June 26-28, 2024.
  • Conference session chair of the 15th International Green Energy Conference, Glasgow, UK, July 10-13, 2023.
  • Organizing Committee Member of the First Annual Conference of Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) China Chapter and the China-Europe S&T Talent Forum, Munich, Germany, April 1-2, 2023.
  •  Reviewers for more than 15 leading energy journals, such as Applied Energy, Journal of Energy Storage, Sustainable energy technologies and assessments, International Journal of Refrigeration, Energy Reports, and so on.

Research interests

  • Free-piston internal/external combustion and free-piston Stirling engines
  • Thermoacoustic engines
  • Combined heat and power systems
  • Hybrid renewable energy systems


Journal Article