Dr Yabin Liu recognised as green energy industry trailblazer

Dr Yabin Liu (centre) at the Scottish Renewables Young Professionals Green Energy Awards
Dr Yabin Liu (centre) at the Scottish Renewables Young Professionals Green Energy Awards

Dr Yabin Liu has won a Scottish Renewables Young Professionals Green Energy Award for his work on flow control and fluid dynamics for the renewable energy industry.

He was among ten up-and-coming green energy stars honoured at an awards ceremony in Glasgow on 18 April 2024 for their exceptional work pioneering new ideas to change the renewable energy industry for the better.

Yabin won the Academic Award, which was sponsored by Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) Scotland – an independent partnership of 14 Scottish universities engaged in world-class energy research and innovation.


Yabin’s research focuses on using fluid dynamics research and innovative flow control technologies to improve the efficiency, resilience and cost-effectiveness of tidal and wind turbines.

He is working with industry to understand cavitation, noise and impact on power production caused by vortexes created by hydropower, tidal and wind turbine blades – ultimately seeking to improve efficiencies and reduce energy costs of propulsion to contribute towards Net Zero goals.

Academic career

Yabin gained his doctoral degree from Tsinghua University in 2021 where he won Outstanding Doctoral Thesis prize, the Beijing Outstanding Graduate prize, and studied at the University of Cambridge as a sponsored visiting PhD student. He also won the China Mechanical Engineering Society HiWin’s Doctoral Dissertation Award, the most prestigious prize for PhD graduates in mechanical engineering across Mainland China, Taiwan, HK and Macao.

Yabin joined the University of Edinburgh in autumn 2021, first as a Research Associate on the EPSRC Morphing Blades project led by Professor Ignazio Maria Viola, before embarking on his own research journey, as the first holder of 1851 Research Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, and the sole annual recipient of the Brunel Fellowship.

Funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, the Brunel Fellowship gives early career scientists and engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity to conduct a research project of their own instigation in civil, mechanical, electrical or aeronautical engineering. The previous holders of the 1851 Fellowships include 13 Nobel Laureates.

Only three years after completing his PhD, Yabin has secured more than £800k funding as Principle Investigator (PI) on research projects and has published multiple high-impact studies.

His research has attracted strong support from leading green energy industry partners, including Proteus Marine Renewables, SCHOTTEL Marine Technologies, Orbital Marine Power, and ThakeConsult, and funding bodies including the Royal Society ISPF International Collaboration Award, the Supergen ORE Hub Flexible Funding and the EPSRC IAA Innovation Award.

“Great encouragement”

Yabin said:

“I take it as a milestone in my academic career and a great encouragement to my research in offshore renewables. The YPGEA awards by Scottish Renewables show the community’s strong support and expectation for the young generations. Though at an early stage, the current young generations will play the leading role in our Net Zero transition in the following two decades.

“Together with other peers, I will spare no effort to contribute to a green world with my passion, expertise and intelligence. I aspire to become a leading researcher in offshore renewables and flow control, translating fundamental knowledge and innovative technologies into industry applications.”

Head of the School of Engineering Professor Gareth Harrison said:

“I am delighted to see Yabin secure the Academic Award at the 2024 YPGEA. This is a fitting reward for his phenomenal success over the last two and a half years at Edinburgh and sets him up nicely for his future career. Yabin joins an illustrious group of School researchers and alumni who have won or been shortlisted for the YPGEA over the last 10 years.”

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