Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor Tadhg O’Donovan graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in 2001. He continued in Trinity College and worked on research projects funded by Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland before completing his Ph.D. (Thesis title: "Fluid flow and heat transfer of an impinging air jet") in early 2005 and a prestigious Eurotherm Award for this work in 2008. He was appointed as a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering in Trinity College in 2005 and worked primarily on the development of synthetic air jets for application in electronics thermal management. Tadhg joined Heriot-Watt University in 2007 as a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. His research now includes the thermal management of High Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic Cells (HCPV), Electronic Components and Solar Thermal and CPV/T Systems. In 2011 he formed part of a successful bid for a project to help Bridge the Urban Rural Divide (BURD) by installing a renewable energy power plant in small town in rural India. More recently he has led research projects to develop cooling technology for Unmanned Air Systems and a feasibility study aimed at driving down the cost of renewable energy from solar thermal power plants. Tadhg currently supervises 5 PhD students and is the author of 24 peer reviewed journal publications. He has won grant funding from Enterprise Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the UK and India Education and Research Initiative, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory

Research interests

Professor O’Donovan’s research interests concern convective heat transfer and fluid flow. His research has developed techniques to measure the temporal nature of surface heat flux. This is used to investigate and enhance heat transfer rates to impinging air jets for electronics cooling applications. Temporal investigation of the surface heat flux to arrays of synthetic air jets has enhanced their cooling potential by 36%.

Professor O’Donovan’s research also contributes to the development of solar energy technology. Solar receivers with a helical coil geometry have been designed to develop a Dean vortex flow to enhance mixing and surface heat flux with only minimal extra pumping requirement. In collaboration with the UK Astromony Technology Centre (UKATC) he has conducted a feasibility study and preliminary design of a fixed focus tracking solar concentrator and solar thermal store as part of a 5kW power plant. Solar energy research has also included the thermal management of high concentrating solar cells; the electrical conversion efficiency of PV cells can be substantially increased by decreasing their operating temperature.

Other research interests include solar thermal storage in molten salts, water purification using membrane distillation, the thermal regulatory system of the body and blood perfusion measurement and thermal management of Fischer-Tropsch process for Gas to Liquid conversion.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • Engineering & Product Design
  • Human Health
  • TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
  • Energy & Renewables
  • Environment & Sustainability


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