Phil used to be a 'proper engineer' developing laser processing tools for the manufacture of thin film photovoltaic panels. Prior to this he was part of a small team developing the world's first commercial Extreme UltraViolet (EUV) micro stepper for Intel (these tools are early prototypes for future production tools as required to meet the ambitious roadmaps in the semiconductor industry).
However, since becoming involved with energy research, Phil had to realise that technical innovation is only a small part of the picture. During his MSc at Imperial College he adopted techno-economic modelling to explore future commercial drivers for disruptive new technologies, such as solar hydrogen. In his PhD he broadened this approach further, to include stakeholder perceptions and transition theory. This helped to expose some of the challenges we face in introducing new concepts to markets and institutions which have evolved over many decades around established technologies of electricity generation and delivery. The example in his thesis was electricity storage. Very similar issues arise for demand response, which he is exploring now.
Phil's complete lack of disciplinarity is supported by his degree in Business-Engineering from Wedel (Germany), an MSc in Sustainable Energy Futures from Imperial College and an interdisciplinary scholarship for his PhD from the UK Energy Research Centre.