Alan Owen Profile Picture
Title: Dr
First Name: Alan
Surname: Owen
Position: Director of CUSP
Telephone: +44 (0)1224 262360

B.Eng(Hons), PhD, C.Eng, MEI, Chartered Energy Engineer


A renewable energy researcher since 2002, Dr Alan Owen is the Northern Research Partnership Reader in Renewable Energy and Clean Technology at Robert Gordon University (RGU), and currently holds the position of Director of CUSP (Centre for Understanding Sustainable Practice) which is funded at £100,000 p.a. His principal energy research focus is on the engineering and exploitable resource assessment challenges of tidal current energy. He has worked on substantial UK-based research projects (Supergen Marine 1) and is a PhD supervisor for Supergen Marine 2. Internationally, he led the RGU involvement as a member of the European Commission funded project, Concerted Action on Ocean Energy (CA-OE), has presented papers at high profile international conferences and has supervised ERASMUS students. He has created a spin-out company, authored patents and sits on a number of committees.


His PhD thesis, completed in 2007, demonstrates the numerical modelling and laboratory testing of the Sea Snail, a patented device for securing turbines and other equipment in vigorous flows. This work involved sea trials of a substantial (22 tonne) device which Dr Owen supervised and project managed in conjunction with the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. He has published work on the numerical modelling of tidal currents around Orkney, Pentland Firth and the Channel Isles, amongst others. He has completed a ROV survey of the Sound of Islay, carried out tow-tank testing of various hydrodynamic shapes and devices, and analysed meteorological data for sustainable energy applications.


Dr Owen is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Energy Engineer and a full Member of the Energy Institute.


Dr Owen acts as a specialist technical advisor to:-

  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise on tidal energy due diligence and fish farms
  • Guernsey Renewable Energy Commission on tidal resource analysis of Guernsey territorial waters
  • Islay Energy Trust on the exploitation of the Sound of Islay tidal current. This project has recently attracted the support of Scottish Power PLC.
  • CHAP (Construction) Ltd on the application of sustainable energy to the Park Village development proposal on the outskirts of Aberdeen
  • Specialist Welding Services on the CFD analysis of a fish farm mort lifter
  • Bowmore Harbour Improvement Association on the numerical modelling of sediment distribution in Loch Indaal
  • Sustainability and renewable energy consultant to The Robert Gordon University for the development of its new Garthdee Campus Masterplan.


  • RAE returned author
  • External PhD Examiner for Swansea University (Jan 2009)
  • Conference Committees:- AllEnergy 2008 (Aberdeen) , Energex 2010 (Stavanger), and the World Petroleum Conference 2008 (Madrid).
  • Represents RGU on the NE Scotland Climate Change Partnership and acts on behalf or Prof Robertson on the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG)
  • Invited to inform the development of the Scottish Government's Saltire Prize.
  • Delivered invitation lectures to the IMechE, IMarEST and University of Highlands and Islands.
  • Invited to present international lectures on tidal energy to the ERASMUS programme at the University of Groningen (2007).


  • University of Aberdeen on tidal environment modelling
  • University of Edinburgh on computational numerical modelling of tidal currents.
  • Collaborative research relationship with Professor Ian Bryden, Research Director of Supergen 2
  • Diageo Distillers Ltd on tidal energy,
  • Black & Veatch on numerical modelling of tidal currents
  • Wood Group PLC on mobility technology for disabled children.


Dr Owen is Technical Director of Mirspot Ltd, a company spun-out by him from RGU, exploiting software and a methodology to model the energy consumption of buildings in real time using locally acquired data. A controlling interest in Mirspot Ltd has recently been bought by Synergie Scotland Ltd.

Publications and Public Output

Owen A., Kruijsen J.H.J. “Marine Energy in the Maldives” Scottish Govt, August 2011

Okorie P., Owen A. “Implications of laboratory testing of a tidal current energy device”, Oceans09, May11-14 2009, Bremen, Germany.

Owen A. Tidal Current Energy, Origins & Challenges, Book Chapter, “Future Energy: Improved, Sustainable and Clean Options for our Planet”, Letcher T, (Ed), Elsevier, ISBN 0080548083, 2008 (Invited contribution)

Owen A. Tow tank testing of a tandem hydrofoil array. Part A11 Journal of Marine Engineering & Technology. pp29-41. Proc. Institute of Marine Engineering Science & Technology, 2008, (Invited Paper)

Owen A., Bryden I.G., “Energy Extraction Implications of Structurally Significant Velocity Variation in Tidal Currents”, Proc. Oceans07; IEEE; 070130-006, 200718-21 June; Aberdeen, UK.

Owen A. “Tidal Current Resource Assessment”, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A, Journal of Power and Energy, 2007(Invited Paper)

Owen A., Bryden I.G., “The Sea Snail: A cost effective installation methodology” Wave and Tidal technology Symposium, Isle-of-Wight, 2007 (Invited contribution)

Turner N., Owen A. The Development of a Tidal Turbine for deployment in areas with slow moving tidal flows. Proc. Oceans07; IEEE 070131-015, 200718-21 June; Aberdeen, UK.

Owen A. The application of low aspect ratio hydrofoils to the secure positioning of static equipment in tidal streams [PhD thesis]. Aberdeen; The Robert Gordon University; 2007. 

Bryden I.G., Couch S.J., Owen A. and Melville G. "Tidal Current Resource Assessment." Proc IMechE Journal of Power and Energy, Vol. 221, No. 2, pp. 125-135; 2007.

Owen A., Bryden I.G., A novel graphical approach for assessing tidal stream energy flux in the Channel Isles, Journal of Marine Science and Environment, IMarEST, 2006

Melville G., Owen A. Experience of Ocean Energy Systems CA-OE. Workshop. Lisbon. 16-17 Nov. 2006. Performance monitoring of ocean energy systems 

Owen A., Bryden I.G. Prototype Support Structure for Sea Bed Mounted Tidal Current Turbines Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers – Part M, 2006

Owen A. Bryden I.G., Prototype Support Structure for Sea Bed Mounted Tidal Current Turbines. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment, Volume 219, Number 4 pp. 173-183, 2005, 

Owen A. Bryden I.G., Prototype Support Structure for Sea Bed Mounted Tidal Current Turbines, Proceedings of the 6th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, 30th August - 2nd September, 2005

Owen A.& Bryden I.G., "Apparatus for Controlling Underwater Based Equipment" International Patent application PCT/GB2003/003845, European 03793891.7 US 10/526,264 2004

Commercially Confidential Outputs

Owen A., Garniati L., Berry M., “RGU Carbon Management Plan”, Aberdeen, March 2010

Yahathugoda I., Owen A. “Mathematical modelling of WWC wave converter”, Aberdeen, August 2009

Maxwell P., Owen A., Scott B., Ogilvie M., “Islay community tidal energy project: Pre-feasibility study”, Bowmore October 2008.

Owen A., Raedler M., “Analysis of the fluid flow in a fish farm mort lifter”, Aberdeen, July 2008

Owen A., Raedler M., “CFD analysis of the fluid flow in a fish farm mort lifter”, Aberdeen, July 2008