Dr Karen Finney

BSc, MSc (Eng), PhD, CEng, MEI.

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research Fellow

Photo of Karen Finney
Profile picture of Photo of Karen Finney
+44 114 270 3085

Full contact details

Dr Karen Finney
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

I am a research fellow in the Energy 2050 team, within the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

I graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Geography, before defecting to engineering – achieving a distinction for my MSc (Eng) and then a PhD, both in energy and environmental engineering from the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, at the University of Sheffield.

I have since worked as a researcher at the University of Sheffield (Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Group in Chemical and Biological Engineering) and then at the University of Leeds (within the Energy Technology and Innovation Initiative), before returning to Sheffield to take up my role in the new Energy 2050 team.

I am a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Energy Institute. I have recently completed a part-time secondment at Alstom Power Ltd. in their Alternative Energy Concepts group within the Future Technology Execution team at Rugby.

Research interests

My research experience and expertise is in low-carbon and sustainable energy generation, focussing on a range of aspects within this – including thermal treatments (combustion, gasification and pyrolysis) of fossils fuels, biomass and waste; carbon capture; gas turbines; combined heat and power; district heating; fuel processing techniques and pollutant minimisation.

I conduct both experimental and theoretical investigations into innovative aspects of evolving thermal processes under several RCUK-funded programmes. As well as a researcher on these projects, I also have a number of other roles; this includes being the deputy technical director for one project, running working groups and serving as work package leader.

The experimental work takes places at the UKCCSRC Pilot-scale Advanced Capture Technology (PACT) facilities, which are the national specialist R&D facilities for combustion and carbon capture technology research. Here, I work with a range of academic and industrial partners.

Current and previous research

At present, I am working on the following collaborative and multi-/inter-disciplinary projects:

  • EPSRC SELECT: Selective Exhaust Gas Recirculation for Carbon Capture with Gas Turbines: Integration, Intensification, Scale-up and Optimisation (EP/M001482/1)
  • UKCCSRC BIO-CAP-UK – Air/Oxy Biomass Combustion with CO2 Capture Technology (UKCCSRC-C1-40)
  • EPSRC Gas-FACTS: Gas – Future Advanced Capture Technology Options, Consortium (EP/J020788/1)
  • EPSRC Development and Evaluation of Sustainable Technologies for Flexible Operation of Conventional Power Plants (EP/K02115X/1)

I have also previously worked on a range of other research programmes:

  • EPSRC Thermal Management of Industrial Processes and the associated PRO-TEM network (EP/G056706/1 and EP/G059284/1)
  • EPSRC Joint UK-China Network to Investigate the Production of Clean Energy and Hydrogen via Novel Process Technologies (EP/G062374/1)
  • EPSRC PUrE: Pollutants in the Urban Environment: An Integrated Framework for Improving Sustainability of the Indoor Environment (EP/F007132/1)
  • EPSRC SUPERGEN Biomass Biofuels and Energy Crops II Core (EP/E039995/1)
  • Horizon 2020: NANOMEMC2 - NanoMaterials Enhanced Membranes for Carbon Capture (Grant Agreement Number: 727734)
  • EPSRC: UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre 2017 (UKCCSRC 2017 - EP/P026214/1)
  • UKCCSRC: International Exchange Fund, for research visit to KIER, S Korea
  • EPSRC Opening New Fuels for UK Generation – Researcher co-investigator [total project funding – £1,035,606] (EP/M015351/1)
  • EPSRC SELECT: Selective Exhaust Gas Recirculation for Carbon Capture with Gas Turbines: Integration, Intensification, Scale-up and Optimisation – named researcher [total project funding – £ 1,099,891] (EP/M001482/1)
  • EPSRC Impact and Innovation Account Award (Knowledge Transfer Secondment) – a two-way secondment between ETII, University of Leeds and Alstom Power Ltd., where I am a secondee [total project funding awarded, including in-kind contributions, of ~£100,000]
Professional activities and memberships
  • UKCCSRC Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Short Course 2013
  • Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace 2012
  • UKKCSRC Early Career Researcher member
  • Chartered engineer, CEng status (Chartered Energy Engineer) in 2012
  • Member of Energy Institute, MEI status from 2012 (GradEI from 2005-2012)
  • 2011/2012 University’s ‘Exceptional Contribution Award’ for PDRA research
  • Awarded the 2010 Thring Prize for academic and personal promise displayed at postgraduate level
  • Awarded the 2009 Foxwell Memorial Prize for my PhD research
  • Third prize-winner of the EI Yorkshire Branch 2006 Prize