Dr Xiaoyu Yan

Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environment


Telephone: 01326 259485


Xiaoyu is a Senior Lecturer in Energy and Environment 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 College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences and also part of the interdisciplinary Environment and Sustainability Institute, where he serves as Associate Director for Internationalisation & Partnerships. Xiaoyu is Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor of Minviro Ltd, a mining sustainability solutions specialist.



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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 ecosystem services
  • Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus
  • Circular Economy
  • Energy and transport systems modelling to support strategy making
  • Performance and emissions of alternative fuels for internal combustion engines


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 10 full-time PhD scholarships in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for Chinese students starting in the academic year 2020-2021. Applications for 2020 entry are now open. Deadline for receipt of application to the University of Exeter is Monday 6 January 2020.
  • 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
  • 2016-2019 CEReS: Co-processing of coal mine and electronic wastes: Novel resources for a sustainable future (EU RFCS, €2M) Co-I
  • 2017-2019 Embedded systems for Integrated Photovoltaics in Rural Buildings: E-IPB (Innovate UK Newton Fund – China-UK Research and Innovation Bridges, £900K) Co-I
  • 2018-2018 Availability of technology metals in expansive markets (British Council/Newton Fund UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Partnership Fund PhD Placement, £13K) PI
  • 2017-2017 The key energy consumption technology and environmental benefits of biomass based levulinate esters fuel (The Key Technologies R&D Program of Henan Province, China–International Cooperation, ¥300K/~£34K) UK PI
  • 2016-2017 Unpacking China’s Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus (EPSRC GCRF, £15K) PI
  • 2016-2017 An innovative framework for sustainability assessment of renewable energies based on life-cycle analysis and ecosystem services evaluation (British Council/Newton Fund UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Partnership Fund PhD Placement, £13K) PI
  • 2015-2018 “Water Energy Food” WEFWEBS: Mapping the WEF Nexus at Multiple Scales and Across Sectors (EPSRC, £1.4M) Co-I
  • 2015-2015 Dynamic spatio-temporal hybrid life cycle analysis (LCA) as a novel tool to assess the impact of energy system transitions on ecosystem services (PML & University of Exeter Research Collaboration Fund, £12K) PI
  • 2014-2015 AVaRICE: Algal Valorisation & Remediation of metal Ion Contaminated Effluents (GW4+ Initiator and Accelerator Fund, £7K and £70K) Co-I
  • 2013-2016 RAINSAFE Safe Drinking Water from Harvested Rain Water (EU H2020, €1.5M) Co-I


Research collaborations and links

Within Exeter

Beyond Exeter

  • UK: UCL, Imperial College London, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Nottingham, Newcastle, East Anglia, Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Reading, Cranfield, Southampton, Lancaster and Plymouth, and the Royal College of Art.
  • China: Tsinghua University, Peking University, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing University, Nanjing Agricultural University, Sichuan University, Tongji University, Wuhan University, Xiamen University, Henan Agricultural University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Henan Academy of Sciences and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.   
  • Australia: Universities of Sydney and Queensland
  • US: University of Michigan
  • Malaysia: University of Nottingham Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu
  • Colombia: Universidad de los Andes, Humboldt Institute