Dr Mohammed Imbabi

Dr Mohammed Imbabi
BSc (Honours), MSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer

Dr Mohammed Imbabi
Dr Mohammed Imbabi

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272506
fax +44 (0)1224 272497
The University of Aberdeen Room F270, Fraser Noble Building, King's College, Old Aberdeen AB24 3UE.
Web Links
Wizzher Ltd

Centre for Innovative Building Materials and Technologies (cibmt)

Materials & Chemical Engineering Research Group

The Green Concrete Project

The DBB Project (Balerno)



Dr Mohammed Salah-Eldin Imbabi, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD is a scientist, professional engineer, innovator and educator in the diverse fields of civil engineering, low energy building engineering, energy efficiency and renewable energy. He is Associate Editor and member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment (IJSBE) and author of more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, proceedings papers, patents and reports.

Major sponsors of Dr Imbabi’s research include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Scottish Executive, the Carbon Trust and Industry. He currently manages £3.62 million of external research funds and leads a large international multi-disciplinary research team. This level of activity contributed to the creation in February 2013 of a new Centre for Innovative Building Materials and Technologies (cibmt) at the School of Engineering, to serve as the focus of activity and expertise in all aspects of building engineering, building energy efficiency, building materials and emerging novel building technologies across the University. Dr Imbabi is a Founding Director of this Centre. He is also a member of the steering group of Mainstreaming Innovation, a project involving 9 Scottish Universities and supported by the Scottish Government to promote innovation in construction. The project has been a year in the making and launched in April 2013. He is additionally a member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Renewable Energy Foundation (London), the International Advisory Council of the World Renewable Energy Network's (WREN), IEA Task Force 44 on ‘Integrating Environmentally Responsive Elements in Buildings’ and the 2006-2010 and 2010-2014 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Colleges.

Dr Imbabi’s engagement with industry however extends significantly beyond this and includes the creation of Energyflo Construction Technologies Ltd (ECT), a University of Aberdeen spin-out company that was set up in 2004 to commercialise his research in the field of Dynamic Insulation (DI).  As Executive Chairman, and subsequently while on secondment to the company as Technical Director between September 2008 and December 2010, Dr Imbabi led the recruitment of key personnel and secured multi-million pound venture capital investment in the company.  ECT has won numerous prizes and accolades and recently gained formal recognition for its EXstream™ range of DI products in the UK Building Regulations, under his guidance, through SAP Appendix Q (for domestic buildings) and a new Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM) methodology (for commercial buildings). ECT products have been licensed for manufacture and sale by Jablite and SpeedDeck in the UK. The company is a clear example of the beneficial impact of research and innovation in strengthening economies and improving the quality of life for communities everywhere. Its creation defines 1 of 5 Impact Case Studies in Engineering that are being taken forward by the University in REF 2014. Dr Imbabi’s current focus includes the next generation of passive, low-cost Void Space Dynamic Insulation (VSDI) systems that will facilitate the mass deployment of this important technology.

In 2013 Dr Imbabi was invited to be a member of the judging panel and chair of the green building sub-panel at the Homes for Scotland (HFS) 2013 Awards. HFS, in Edinburgh, is the organisation representing the country’s private home building industry.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. in structural engineering (1984), University of Liverpool, UK.
  • M.Sc. in building services engineering (1980), Brunel University, UK.
  • B.Sc. (1st Class) in civil engineering (1978), Khartoum University, Sudan.

Awards & Honours

  • Shell Springboard Award (£40,000) for ‘Launch of the Energyflo™ cell’, 2007.
  • Ambassador, VisitScotland's Conference Ambassadors Programme, since 2005. 
  • SMART Scotland Award for ‘The Environmental Building System’, 2004.
  • British Council, PhD Scholarship, Technical Cooperation Award, 1980.
  • British Council, MSc Scholarship, Technical Cooperation Award, 1979.
  • Mirghani Hamza prize for best performance in civil engineering, 1978.
  • University of Khartoum prize for best overall final year performance, 1978.

Abbreviated Employment History

  • Technical Director (on secondment from the University 0f Aberdeen, 2008 - 2010), ECT, UK.
  • Director (2004-2006) then Chairman (2006-2008), Environmental Building Partnership Ltd, UK.
  • Lecturer (1990) then Senior Lecturer (2005) in Engineering, University of Aberdeen, UK.
  • Visiting Scholar (1989-1990), Istituto di Fisica Tecnica, Universitá degli Studi di Trieste, Italy.
  • Lecturer (1984-1989), Department of Building Technology, University of Gezira, Sudan. 
  • British Council scholar (1979-1984), postgraduate student and teaching assistant, UK.
  • Graduate civil engineer (1978-1979), Page Communications Engineers Inc, USA. 

Research Interests

Dr Imbabi's diverse and varied research activities have something in common. Without exception, they are driven by the urgent imperatives of energy efficiency, clean energy supply, the sustainable, affordable use of materials, the need for new, functionally enhanced low carbon materials and improved quality of life in the built environment. This currently translates into more than 10 areas of research grouped under 3 main headings.

Low Energy Building Research

  • Novel, low carbon cements and concretes.
  • Low carbon construction materials and products.
  • Void Space Dynamic Insulation (VSDI) systems.
  • Low energy, low carbon building fundamentals.
  • Energy efficient HVAC control strategies.
  • Building integrated renewable energy technologies.
  • High performance building fabric retrofit.

Structural Engineering Research

  • Structural health monitoring.
  • Numerical simulation methods.
  • Ultimate strength of offshore structures.

Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery

  • Efficient, functionally enhanced subsea pipelines.

Current Research

Research Areas Linked to Active Projects

The £3.62 million of 'live' funding that Dr Imbabi currently manages is being used to support research in 6 actve areas.

  • Novel, low carbon cements and concretes.
  • Low carbon construction materials and products.
  • Void Space Dynamic Insulation (VSDI) systems.
  • Low energy, low carbon building Fundamentals.
  • Ultimate strength of offshore structures.
  • Efficient, functionally enhanced subsea pipelines.

The first area is where the Green Concrete Project resides. A significant proportion of Dr Imbabi's time and energy are devoted to ensuring the success of this large International, multi-disciplinary research project.


     Active collaboations
  • Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD), Qatar.
  • Concrete Technology Unit, School of Engineering, Dundee University, UK.
  • Institute for Sustainable Construction, Edinburgh Napier University, UK.
  • School of Engineering and Built Environment, GCU, Glasgow, UK.
  • Department of Civil Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, USA.
  • Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Málaga, España.
  • Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Cairo University, Egypt.
  • Holcim Technology Ltd, Holderbank, Switzerland.
  • Dynamic Insulation Solutions Ltd (dyinso), Kirkwall, Orkney, UK.
  • Thermal Testing Laboratory, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), UK.
  • Building Research Establishment (BRE), Wallingford and East Kilbride, UK.
  • British Board of Agrement (BBA), Wallingford, UK.
     Past collaborations
  • Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University, UK.
  • ETSU, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Strathclyde University, UK.
  • Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College, UK.
  • Department of Building Engineering, Aalborg University, Denmark.
  • Istituto di Fisica Tecnica, Universita di Trieste, Trieste, Italy.
  • The International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.
  • Bio-climatic Architecture, TU Berlin, Germany.
  • Soil Building Laboratory, Kassel University, Germany.
  • ENSIAME, Université de Valenciennes, France.
  • School of Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.
  • Faculty of Architecture, Al-Ain University, UAE.
  • Faculty of Engineering, Sakarya University, Turkey.
  • Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Kabangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Malaysia.
  • Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
  • Building Research Dept, Hokkaido Research Organisation, Sapporo, Japan.
  • Scottish Building Standards Agency (SBSA), East Kilbride, UK.
  • CALA Homes (East) Ltd, Falkirk, Scotland, UK.
  • Materials Research Division, Asahi Kasai Corporation, Japan.
  • Himmah Group (Construction), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.
  • Al-Hamad Contracting Company, Dubai, UAE.
  • Concretec, Jebel Ali industrial area, Dubai, UAE.

Research Grants

     Grant-funded research projects
  • Imbabi (PI). The Mainstreaming Innovation Project. A 12 month project, led by a consortium of 9 Scottish Universities, that started on 1st April 2013.
  • Imbabi (PI), Glasser and MacPhee. The Green Concrete Project, a 4-year, multi-million dollar international research project that started on 1st October 2012.
  • Al-Sallal and Imbabi (CI). A collaborative research project between UAEU, AU, EBP and Al-Hamad Group on application of dynamic insulation in the UAE, Dubai Municipality, a 6 month international project that commenced 15th August 2007.
  • Imbabi (PI). Carbon Trust RD&D Project, Grant ARP 051-233, Full-scale performance evaluation of energy use and emissions reduction in dynamic breathing building construction, A 2-year project that commenced 17th July 2006. See the 'Web Links' section for the project website.
  • Imbabi (PI). Hydrogen network feasibility study to facilitate SRDG bid in collaboration with a other Scottish Universities, a I2 month project that commenced 1st September 2005.
  • Imbabi (PI and Conference Chair). The 2005 World Renewable Energy Congress. Multiple funding sources including the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise, the City of Aberdeen, University of Aberdeen and Industry. Aberdeen, May 2005.
  • Imbabi (PI). SMART: Scotland* Stage (I) grant to develop the "Environmental Building System", Scottish Executive and Industry, a 15 month project that commenced 1st July 2004.
  • Imbabi (PI) and Player. TCD Programme No. 3594 to develop “Energy efficient smart modular building envelope panels using ecologically sound materials", a 2 year project that commenced 1st November 2001.
  • Imbabi (PI) and Akisanya. EPSRC Grant GR/L40281, The mechanical behaviour and design optimisation of asphaltic plug bridge deck expansion joints.
  • Webster and Imbabi (CI). EPSRC Grant GR/K23461, The use of diffusive and dynamic insulation for combined heat recovery and ventilation in buildings.
  • Imbabi (PI). EEC - SOCRATES Grant REG0379, travel grant to facilitate academic collaboration with ENSIMEV, University of Valenciennes.
  • Imbabi (PI). EEC - ICARUS travel grant (administered by CINECA) to facilitate personal research requiring detailed numerical modelling of air flow in buildings to determine the effect of duct positioning and room orientation on heating and ventilation efficiency, Bologna, Italy.
  • Imbabi (PI). EEC - ICARUS travel grant (administered by CINECA) to facilitate research in parallel implementation of image matching and correlation algorithms for real-time fluid flow visualisation, Bologna, Italy.
  • Imbabi (PI). BC / MURST travel grant (administered by the British Council, Italy), to facilitate academic collaboration with colleagues in the Universities of Trieste and Modena in Italy.
  • Imbabi (PI). Aberdeen University Research Committee award to investigate the use of hybrid solar domestic heating and ventilation systems in Scotland and the United Kingdom.
     Commissioned research projects and studentships
  • Imbabi (PI). Mull and Iona Sustainable Homes, Mull and Iona Community Trust / Climate Change Fund (1/14 – 6/15).
  • Imbabi (PI). The potential for communal and renewable heating systems in and around the historical Linlithgow Cross area, Transition Linlithgow / CARES (11/14 - 2/14).
  • Imbabi (PI) and Glasser. Novel concretes for subsea pipeline flow assurance, O Wasfi, self-funded studentship by (8/13 – 7/15).
  • Neilson and Imbabi (CI). The ultimate response of offshore structures, A Abdelaal (p/t), W S Atkins (7/13 – 6/18).
  • Imbabi (PI). Shell UK sponsorship of the Postgraduate Research Symposium in Engineering (2013)
  • Imbabi (PI). IStructE sponsorship of the Postgraduate Research Symposium in Engineering (2013).
  • Imbabi (PI) and Glasser – College of Physical Sciences Ph.D. studentship to investigate “Breathable Concrete”. Degree award to Dr J. M. Wong in February 2008.
  • Watson, Player and Imbabi (CI). EPSRC Ph.D. quota studentship to investigate the use of "3D Holography for Structural Health Monitoring of Advanced Composite Panels". Degree awarded to Dr P. Benzie in February 2006.
  • Imbabi (PI) and Famiyesin. Ph.D. studentship research into condition monitoring of RC slabs, sponsored by the Malaysian Government.  Degree awarded to Dr H. C. Tan in February 2001.
  • Imbabi (PI). EPSRC (MTD / Shell EXPRO) case studentship award ref. 93593767, “Real Time Evaluation of Air Gas and Smoke Flow in Buildings and Enclosures”.  Ph.D. awarded to Dr R. Gordon 1997.

Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate Degree Programmes

     The engineering courses Dr Imbabi currently 
coordinates, teaches and contributes to
     Some of the engineering courses Dr Imbabi has coordinated and taught in the past
  • L3/4 Engineering Design & Practice
  • L3 Structural Mechanics
  • L3 Management, Economics and Safety Engineering
  • L4 Engineering Project Abroad
  • L4 Individual Project Abroad
  • L4 Structural Vibration

Postgraduate Degree Programmes

  • Coordinated a course in Safety & Reliability Engineering that is commonly shared by a number of other taught post-graduate MSc Programmes.
  • Supervised, reviewed and assessed taught PGR projects and dissertations.

Postgraduate Research Degree Examinations

  • Dr Imbabi has served as External Examiner of PhD research candidates, including at the Universities of Manchester (1), Reading (1), Surrey (1), Stirling (1), Edinburgh Napier (2) and Heriot-Watt University (1).

Further Info

External Responsibilities


  • Associate Editor and member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment, Elsevier. (Note 1)
  • Member of the steering group of Mainstreaming Innovation, a project supported by the Scottish Government to promote innovation in construction.
  • Member of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council College since 2006. (Note 2)
  • Member of the Energy Utilisation Group, Energy Technology Partnership (ETP), Edinburgh.
  • Member of the Technical Advisory Group of the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), London.
  • Member of IEA Task Force 44 ‘Integrating Environmentally Responsive Elements in Buildings’.
  • Member of the UAE Green Building Council Technical Committee.
  • Member of the World Renewable Energy Network (WREN) International Advisory Board.
  • Member of the BBA NTC/ETAG for 'Expansion Joints for Traffic and Railway Bridges.

(Note 1) Dr Imbabi regularly reviews articles for other scientific journals, including Energy and Buildings, Building and Environment, Renewable Energy, International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials and Applied Energy.

(Note 2) He is also frquently called upon by the EPSRC and other funding organisations to review and assess research applications and proposals that lie within his areas of expertise.



     Dr Imbabi's expertise is highly valued and he is regularly consulted by industry
  • Assessment of technical viability of the proposed 2013 / 2016 Building Regulations, HFS, UK.
  • Investigation of failure of silos no.4 and 7 for W. A. Fairhurst & Partners, UK.
  • Parametric study of testing of bridge jointing systems, Transport Research Laboratory, UK.
  • Study on the use of silts for the production of ceramic building materials, NCR, Sudan.
  • Field survey to produce soil bricks in the rain-fed areas of Eastern Sudan, UNESCO.
  • Low-cost building materials, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics and TU Berlin, Germany.
     His understanding and experience of the corporate world includes company directorships
  • Director. Dynamic Insulation Solutions Ltd.
  • Director, Wizzher Ltd.
  • Founder, Executive Chairman, then Chief Technology Officer of Energyflo Construction Technologies Ltd (2004 - 2010).

Admin Responsibilities

School of Engineering

  • Founder Director of the Centre for Innovative Building Materials and Technologies (cibmt), School of Engineering, University of Aberdeen.
  • Director of Postgraduate Research Studies in Engineering since January 2012, responsible for all matters relating to the recruitment, progress review and welfare of postgraduate research students in the School of Engineering.
  • Guided and supported the hugely successful Fourth Annual Postgraduate Research Symposium in Engineering that took place on 28th February, 2013.
  • Member of the Research Committee in Engineering, responsible for reporting on postgraduate research student numbers and developing / implementing effective strategies to maintain quality, boost numbers, etc.
  • Member of the teaching sub-committee responsible for programme content in structural engineering.
  • Advisor of Studies in Engineering, responsible for advising, mentoring and support of undergraduate students at all levels of study
  • Level 3 Programme Coordinator, responsible for oversight, management and problem resolution across all courses taught at level 3 during the perion 2000 – 2004.
  • Served as the School of Engineering contact point for the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) during the perion 2002 – 2010.

College of Physical Sciences

  • Member of the Postgraduate Research Committee, College of Physical Sciences. Part of this work is to ensure effective communication, sharing of ideas and alignment of objectives between the School and College.

University of Aberdeen

  • Led overseas student recruitment and recruitment-related activities in Kuwait and across the Middle East Gulf Region in 2011, an activity that he continues to be informally involved in.
  • Represented the University of Aberdeen at the British Council sponsored Qatar Energy Security Symposium in Doha in November 2011.
  • Represented the University of Aberdeen at UK Trade and Investment Missions to India, Jordan and The United States during the period 2005 – 2011.
  • Participated in University Committees on curriculum reform, sustainability, etc., over a number of years.

Postgraduate & Postdoctoral Research Supervision

  • Dr Jose-Luis Galvez-Martos, Green Concrete Project (Imbabi), started October 2012.
  • Dr Seyoon Yoon, Green Concrete Project (Imbabi), started October 2012.
  • Dr Alex Murdoch, Green Concrete Project (Imbabi), started October 2012.
  • Mr Mohammed Musa, Green Concrete Project (Elsarrag and Imbabi), started October 2013.
  • Mr Ahmed AbdelAal, p/t PhD student (Neilson and Imbabi), started July 2013. 
  • Miss Hoda Beltagui, PhD student (Imbabi and Jones DU), started October 2012.
  • Miss Naomi Patterson, PhD student (Imbabi and Macphee), Started October 2012.
  • Mr Nikolaos Strompinis, PhD student (Jones DU, and Imbabi), started October 2013.
  • Mr Osman Wasfi, MSc student (Imbabi and Glasser), started August 2013.
  • Dr Alexander (Sandy) Brown, The Balerno DBB Project (Imbabi), July 2006 for 2 years.
  • Dr Sharon Smith, Environmental Building Project (Imbabi), July 2004 for 16 months.
  • Dr Andrew Peacock, TCS with JCA&E (Imbabi and Player), November 2001 for 18 months.
  • Dr Anthony Musset, The Monymusk Housing Project (Imbabi), July 1997 for 12 months.
  • Dr Jim Min Wong, PhD student (Imbabi and Glasser). Degree awarded February 2008.
  • Dr Phil Benzie, PhD student (Watson, Player and Imbabi). Degree awarded February 2006.
  • Dr Hock Chuan Tan, PhD student (Imbabi and Famiyesin). Degree awarded February 2001.
  • Dr Robert Gordon, PhD student (Imbabi) Imbabi (PI). Degree awarded July 1997.

Invited Plenary, Keynote & Guest Lectures

  • Trends and developments in green cement and concrete technology, Opening Plenary of the International Sustainable Built Environment Conference, Doha 28-30 January 2014.
  • Crunching the costs: payback on green investment, Housing, Carbon Reduction and Climate Change: the Cost, Sustainability and Supply Challenge, keynote speaker, Homes for Scotland 1st Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 31 October 2012.
  • Passive dynamic insulation systems for cold climates, invited guest speaker, Proceedings of PassivHus Norden 2012, Akademika forlag 9788232, Trondheim, 21-23 October 2012.
  • Dynamic insulation for energy efficient low carbon building envelopes, keynote speaker, Association of Environment Conscious Builders (AECB) 21st Anniversary Conference, Machynlleth, 1 – 2 October 2010.
  • Tuneable U-values for energy efficient, low carbon building envelopes, invited guest speaker WREC-XI, Abu Dhabi, 25 – 30 September, 2010.
  • The clean, low carbon technology of dynamic breathing building, Building for Tomorrow 2008, keynote speaker, Annual NHBC Conference, Falkirk, 18 March 2008.
  • Dynamic breathing buildings – the future, invited guest speaker, Proceedings of the e2 Energy Solutions Conference and Expo, Olympia, London, 10 October 2007.
  • The performance of dynamic breathing buildings in the United Arab Emirates, keynote speaker, Proceedings of Environment 2007 Conference, Abu Dhabi, 28 January – 2 February 2007.
  • The enabling technology of dynamic breathing buildings, keynote Speaker, Proceedings of the 1st Green Building Conference, Dubai, 2006.
  • Low energy building design for the 21st century, keynote speaker at the Emirates Environmental Group General Meeting, Dubai, June 2005.
  • Opening plenary of the World Renewable Energy Congress 2005: Innovation In Europe: Renewable Energy, Technology, Innovation And The Environment, Aberdeen, May 2005.
  • Breathing Buildings, keynote speaker, Proceedings of the 4th IFCO Congress on Energy Conservation in Buildings & Renewable Energy, Tehran, 10 - 15 March 2005.

Research Impact Case Study


Dynamic Insulation in Buildings

Impact case REF3b; Unit of assessment: 15, General Engineering

Advances in the science of Dynamic Insulation (DI) by Dr Imbabi and members of his research team at the University of Aberdeen have contributed to international efforts to combat climate change, through reduction of the carbon emissions associated with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning of buildings.

Following the spin-out of Energyflo Construction Technologies Ltd (ECT) and development of the world’s first modular DI product (the Energyflo™ Cell - see below), jobs have been created and developers have been able to use the first commercially available DI products, to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and meet strict new environmental targets.

ECT has secured more than £2.5 million of venture capital investment and, in the UK, it's EXstream™ dynamic insulation technology has been licensed for manufacture to Jablite (walls), SpeedDeck (roofs) and A Proctor Group (frames).


New & Forthcoming Publications

Contributions to Journals


  • S Yoon, P J M Monteiro, D E Macphee, F P Glasser and M S Imbabi, Statistical analysis of the mechanical properties of high-volume class F fly ash concretes (submitted 2013).
  • S Yoon, D E Macphee, and M S Imbabi, A validated methodology for accurate guarded hot plate measurement of the thermal properties of hardened cements and concretes (submitted 2013).


  • GB---------  ---  Method for producing cement (filed 30/04/2013).
  • GB---------  ---  Method for sequestering carbon dioxide (filed 30/04/2013).

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Conference Proceedings

  • N Patterson, S Yoon and M S Imbabi, Evaluation of the effect of compliant contact layers on the measurement of thermal conductivity of precast concrete building blocks, 9th International Masonry Conference, Guimarães, Portugal, 7-9 July 2014 (Accepted).
  • S Yoon, H Beltagui, F P Glasser, M S Imbabi, Simulation of cyclic environmental effects on coupled ionic and moisture transport in cements and concretes, RILEM International workshop on performance-based specification and control of concrete durability, Zagreb, Croatia, 11-13 June 2014 (accepted).
  • S Yoon, I Galan, F P Glasser, M S Imbabi, Characterisation of microstructure in novel cement matrices, Materials Research Society (MRS), Spring Meeting & Exhibit, San Francisco, California, USA, April 21-25, 2014 (submitted).
  • M S Imbabi and F P Glasser, Trends and developments in green cement and concrete technology, Opening Plenary of the International Sustainable Built Environment Conference, Doha, Qatar, 28-30 January 2014 (invited).

Click here for the full list of publications by Dr Imbabi (20/10/2013). Selected publications that are currently on the University's PURE database are listed below.