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Prof Xiaoyu Yan

Professor in Sustainable Energy Systems


Telephone: 01326 259485


Xiaoyu is a Professor in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Exeter and was previously a Research Associate at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and London, with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is a member of the Renewable Energy Group in the Engineering Department and also part of the interdisciplinary Environment and Sustainability Institute, both within the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy. Xiaoyu is Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor of Minviro Ltd, a mining sustainability solutions specialist, and Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of Near Zero by Design, a space sustainability start-up. He also advises many businesses in a wide range of sectors including energy, transport, water, food, space, manufacturing critical raw materials and infrastructure on their journey to Net Zero.



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Xiaoyu has a broad interest in Water, Energy, Food and the Environment and worked in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas. The overarching aim of his research is to develop quantitative analytical models and tools to help governments, industry and the public make more informed decisions with respect to environmental sustainability. He is interested in supervising PhD students and working with academic visitors in the following areas:

  • Environmental sustainability assessment of bioenergy pathways, electricity generation technologies, transport options, water systems and minerals sourcing using life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Novel dynamical spatiotemporal LCA methods
  • Impact of energy systems on biodiversity
  • Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus
  • Circular Economy
  • Energy and transport systems modelling to support strategy making


PhD and Postdoc opportunities
  • Students from China can apply for the China Scholarship Council and University of Exeter PhD Scholarship. The University of Exeter is proud to offer up to 50 full-time PhD scholarships in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for Chinese students starting in the academic year 2023-2024. Applications for 2023 entry will soon open. Deadline for receipt of application to the University of Exeter is likely to be early January 2023.
  • International students from outside of UK and EU can apply for a range of different funding schemes.

You will have the opportunity to be involved in some of the large interdisciplinary research projects shown below. Please contact me for project proposals.


Current research projects Completed research projects