Skip Trinity Banner Navigation

Skip to main content »

Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Mc Nabola, Aonghus
Main Department Civil Struct & Env. Eng.
College Title Assistant Professor
College Tel +353 1 896 3837
Fax +353 1 677 3072
Dr. McNabola is a graduate of the School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, obtaining his BA, BAI degree in 2002 with first class honours. He subsequently worked in Engineering Consultancy for 2 years as a Civil & Environmental Engineer. Following on from this he carried out a PhD at Trinity College Dublin, graduating in 2007. The subject of his research was in air pollution measurement and CFD modelling of commuter traffic in Dublin. He worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at TCD on biofuel production prior to being appointed as an Assistant Professor in energy and environment in the Dept of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, TCD. Since his appointment Dr. McNabola has continued his research work in the fields of air pollution and CFD analysis, focusing on many aspects such as: air pollution control device development, health impacts, emissions modelling, exposure assessment and modelling. He has also expanded his work into the area of energy efficiency including projects in energy recovery in the water industry and energy recovery in buildings. His research interests include: the application of CFD analysis to engineering problems such as air pollution dispersion, fluid structure interactions, energy devices (wave/hydro/energy recovery); the study of air pollution exposure and its impact on human health; and the recovery of energy in urban systems. He is also active in the field of third level education research and a member of the TCD higher education research group CHEST. Dr. McNabola currently has 7 PhD students in his group and is involved in a number of international collaborative projects, funded by EU-FP7, INTERREG Ireland-Wales, PRTLI, Enterprise-Ireland and the EPA. Dr. McNabola also acts as a College Tutor and is a member of the University Council. He is the Director of the MSc in Engineering Course at Trinity and is engaged in the teaching of fluid dynamics and environmental engineering at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Membership of Professional Institutions, Associations, Societies
Details Date From Date To
Member of the Aerosol Society 2009 to date
Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers 2000 to date
Member of the European Association for the Development of Renewable Energies, Environment & Power Quality (EA4EPQ) 2010 to date
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Colleens Prize for Civil Engineering 2002
Nominated for Siemens/I.E.I Young Engineer of the Year 2002
Enterprise Ireland, Industrial Technologies, Commercialisation Award 2011
Trinity College Dublin: Campus Company Award 2011
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
Dutch Basic Basic Basic
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Basic Basic Basic
Research Interests
Air pollution monitoring and assessment Coastal & Ocean Engineering Computational Fluid Dynamics Energy Engineering
Environmental Effects, Fossil Energy Environmental Engineering Environmental Impacts of Transport Environmental aspects of transportation
Environmental engineering Fluid Physics Greenhouse gas emission assessment Hydraulics engineering
Hydro power Pollution Pollution Control Renewable energies
Tidal and Wave Energy
Research Projects
Project title Towards a More Sustainable System of Water Supply in Ireland and Wales: Exploring Opportunities for Hydropower in Break Pressure Tanks (Hydro-BPT)
Summary This project will advance the sustainability of the process of water supply in Ireland and Wales by exploiting the potential for energy recovery that exists at Break Pressure Tanks (BPTs). Water supply is a core service on which civilised society depends and it involves considerable energy consumption and CO2 emissions (water treatment, pumping and monitoring). Treated water is commonly supplied from a central storage reservoir by gravity throughout a catchment and this water must be supplied within satisfactory pressure bands. When the pressure in water flow becomes too high a BPT is commonly installed in the network, whereby the pressure, kinetic & potential energy within the flow is dissipated to the atmosphere. This common feature of water supply networks presents an opportunity to recover this energy wastage by using micro-hydropower technology to transform it into electricity without interfering in the water supply service. The key objectives of this project comprise: 1. Determining the technical/economic feasibility of applying Hydro-BPTs to water infrastructure: using experimental models the energy recoverable from BPTs will be assessed/demonstrated 2. Determining the environmental impact of this new technology: assessments will be made in terms of the CO2 emissions saving, environmental impacts, life cycle analysis 3. A feasibility study for the application of Hydro-BPTs in existing Irish/Welsh BPTs: information on the existing BPTs will be gathered in a GIS database which will be used to demonstrate the untapped energy potential in water supply networks in Ireland/Wales 4. An exploration of the forms of collaboration among the key stakeholders and development of a business model: this section of the project will develop guidelines for the widespread implementation of this technology by industry
Funding Agency Interreg IV (€975,000)
Programme Ireland Wales
Type of Project 4 year Co-Operative Research
Date from 2011
Date to 2015
Person Months 150

Project title Activity/Location GIS Personal Exposure Air Pollution Model
Summary Project to develop a GIS model of personal exposure to air pollution in Dublin and its environs, dependent on an individual’s activities and locations. Funded by the EPA STRIVE Programme the project will comprise the monitoring of the personal exposure, activity and location of a number of different subjects living and working in Dublin and its satellite towns. This data will be used to develop a GIS model of personal exposure allowing individuals or sub-groups of the population to assess their health risks due to air pollution. The model will inform individuals of activities or locations in their daily lives with high personal exposure to air pollution, allowing them to take steps to reduce or avoid these health risks. Collaborators (Prof. B. Broderick & Mr. L. Gill, TCD; Dr. M Byrne NUIG)
Funding Agency EPA (€350,000)
Programme STRIVE
Type of Project
Date from 2008
Date to
Person Months

Project title Ablative Flash Pyrolysis of Biomass and Waste
Summary Development of a New ablative flash pyrolysis reactor for the conversion of biomass/waste to biofuel.
Funding Agency TCD (€8,200)
Type of Project
Date from 2008
Date to 2009
Person Months

Project title Development of a Personal Exposure Reduction Strategy for Pedestrians using Active and Passive Low Boundary Walls
Summary Previous investigations at TCD revealed the effect of passive low boundary walls (LBWs) in urban street canyons in reducing the exposure of pedestrians on the footpath. Numerical investigations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) have shown that a LBW may act as a baffle in an urban street canyon, disrupting normal flow patterns and increasing the levels of dispersion/dilution on tailpipe emissions before they reach pedestrians on the footpath. This project will take these new generic findings and develop them further into an implementation strategy for pedestrian exposure reduction. This strategy will the undergo experimental trials at a selected location in Dublin to prove the concept. In addition, active LBWs will also be investigated by incorporating a photcatalyst surface coating to reduce NOx concentrations.
Funding Agency HEA
Programme PhD
Type of Project
Date from 2008
Date to 2012
Person Months 48

More Research Projects>>>
Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Corcoran, L., McNabola, A., & Coughlan P., Energy Recovery Potential of the Dublin Region Water Supply Network, International Water Association: World Congress on Water, Climate & Energy, Dublin, May 13th-18th, 2012, pp1-8
Power, C., McNabola, A. & Coughlan, P., The applicability of hydropower technology in wastewater treatment plants, International Water Association: World Congress on Water, Climate & Energy, Dublin, May 13th-18th, 2012, pp1-8
A. McNabola., G. Eyre., Gill., L.W., Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Designated Smoking Areas in the Hospitality Industry: Exposure Measurement, Exposure Modelling & Policy Assessment , Environment International, 44, 2012, p68 - 74
TARA - Full Text
McNabola, A., Williams. A.P., Coughlan, P., The technical & economic feasibility of energy recovery in water supply networks, International Conference on Renewable Energy and Power Quality, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 13th - 15th April, edited by Perez-Donsion, M. , 2011, pp1-5
Non Peer Reviewed
Carr, D., McNabola, A., Gill, L.W., Developing Rock Oscillating Water Column Wave Energy Converters in Ireland, 5th Annual INORE Symposium , Southhampton UK, 9th-13th May, 2011
More Publications and Other Research Outputs >>>

Log in to the TCD Portal
Last Updated:24-SEP-2014