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


Dr Owen is a practical, time served engineer with 25 years experience in renewable energy technologies and sustainable development. After achieving a 1st Class BEng (Hons) in 2002, he joined RGU as a Research Assistant and completed his PhD in 2007. The Larry Kinch Foundation approached Dr Owen in 2009 and an agreement was reached that would subsequently fund the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Practice (CUSP) at the level of £100,000 pa for five years. From 2009 he has been the Director of CUSP and having many years of academic and industrial experience, he has worked on sustainable food/energy/water nexus projects in UK, South East Asia and West Africa, interfacing with the full social range from indigenous fishing communities to government leaders.

At International Governmental level, Dr Owen has provided research and consultancy services to the Scottish Government, States of Guernsey, Government of Maldives, the Governor of Aceh, the Government of Indonesia and the Government of Togo. His UK and international funding comes from a broad range of sources such as UNDP, EU, EC and private/business funders. He also provides consultancy services to a number of leading marine energy developers including resource assessment, device development and expert witness for patent protection. Dr Owen has examined PhD and EngD students, both as an internal and external examiner and has successfully supervised five PhD students to completion. He is currently first supervisor for six PhD students.

Areas of expertise:

  • Renewable energy technologies
  • Appropriate technology design for developing nations
  • Data acquisition and numerical modelling of meteorological and marine resources
  • Environmental and societal impact of renewable energy
  • The energy/food/water implications of climate change


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

Garniati L., Owen A. “Energy Resources in Developing Nations”, Book Chapter, Future Energy 2nd Ed, Elsevier 2014

Kruijsen J.H.J, Owen A. “The Transition to Future Energy”, Book Chapter, Future Energy 2nd Ed, Elsevier 2014

Garniati L., Owen A., Kruijsen J.H.J., Ishadamy Y., Wibisono I. (2012). “Interface between appropriate technology and sustainable energy policy SET”; 2012 Sept 2-5; Vancouver, Canada. Sustainable Energy Technology; 2012.

Kruijsen J.H.J., Owen A., Turner N. and Garniati L., 2012. “The Fourth Dimension of Sustainable Practice” [online]. Available from:

Owen A., Garniati L., “Aceh Sustainable Energy Outlook” 2012, available from

Owen A., “Tidal resource mapping for Guernsey territorial waters”, 2012 available from

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

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 2nd Ed, Elsevier 2014

Owen A. Tow tank testing of a tandem hydrofoil array. Part A11 Journal of Marine Engineering & Technology. IMarEST, 2008, (Invited Paper)

Owen A., Bryden I.G., “Energy Extraction Implications of Structurally Significant Velocity Variation in Tidal Currents”, Oceans07, Aberdeen 18-21 June, 2007

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, 2005

Owen A.& Bryden I.G., "Apparatus for Controlling Underwater Based Equipment" Patent 2004

Commercially Confidential Outputs

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

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