PhD success for Mohammad Alshenaifi

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Dr Mohammad Alshenaifi

Congratulations to Dr Mohammad Alshenaifi on being awarded his PhD in October 2020. Mohammad’s thesis is entitled ‘Optimizing the performance of Passive Downdraught Evaporative Cooling (PDEC) towers for Saudi housing: investigating the impact of architectural form’. Mohammad and his family have now returned to Saudi Arabia, where Mohammad will resume his academic career in the Department of Architectural Engineering at the University of Hail

Building energy consumption in Saudi Arabia is dominated by cooling demand, with the electricity for this cooling being generated predominantly from fossil fuels. To decrease carbon emissions the adoption of more passive cooling approaches is desirable, and one such approach is the passive downdraught evaporative cooling (PDEC) tower.  PDEC captures hot, dry winds at the top of a tower and then cools the air by passing it through or over water. This cooler air then flows out from the base of the tower into the building.

Despite the emergence of such passive systems in the Middle East, there is still a lack of research in the region on the actual performance and applicability of PDEC systems, particularly for residential buildings. In his study, Mohammad firstly investigated the actual performance of an existing PDEC building in Saudi Arabia (where temperature reductions of up to 22.5°C were observed during the hottest parts of the day). Next, a validated computer simulation model was developed of a PDEC tower. Finally, this virtual model was applied to a Saudi house to analyse the effect of architectural design on the PDEC performance, with cooling energy savings of up to 36% being predicted.

Mohammad has presented his work at three major international conferences and is currently preparing two journal papers for submission 

Alshenaifi M and Sharples S (2019) A parametric analysis of the influence of wind speed and direction on the thermal comfort performance of a Passive Downdraught Evaporative Cooling (PDEC) system – field measurements from a Saudi Arabian library. Proc. SBE19 Conference, pp 1-8, Cardiff, 24-25 September 2019. IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 329 012042

Alshenaifi M and Sharples S (2019) Monitoring the performance of a passive downdraught evaporative cooling (PDEC) system – a case study of a library in Saudi Arabia, Proc. CATE 2019, Comfort at the Extremes, 877-888, Dubai, 10-12 April 2019

Alshenaifi M and Sharples S (2018) Investigating the impact of architectural form and wind direction on the performance of a passive downdraught evaporative cooling tower in Saudi Arabia. Proc. PLEA 2018, 34th International Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, 294-299, Honk Kong, 10-12 December 2018