Brian Norton (engineer)

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Professor Brian Norton (born 1955) is an Irish-based academic. Currently he is President of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). He is known as a longstanding advocate for reform and diversity of higher education in Ireland.[1][2] He is also strongly associated with the relocation of DIT from a multiplicity of scattered buildings to a single city centre campus in the Grangegorman neighbourhood of Dublin. Students have been studying at this new campus since September 2014.[3][4]


He was appointed President of DIT in 2003[5] and reappointed for a further ten-year term in 2013.[6] In 1989 he was appointed by Sir Derek Birley as the first Professor in the field of the Built Environment at the University of Ulster.

An internationally leading solar energy technology researcher and educator,[7] he is associated particularly with advances in the understanding of the solar dryer, heat transfer in solar energy collectors using Nonimaging optics, very highly insulating glazing and building-integrated photovoltaic systems. His work has been influential in solar water heater design,[8] particularly those using Thermosiphon flow. For the engineering design of thermosiphon solar water heaters, in honour of solar energy technology pioneer John Yellott, he designated a dimensionless quantity characterising performance as the "Yellott Number".

A Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering,[9] his awards for contributions to solar energy research include Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, their highest honour. He currently chairs Action Renewables,[10] is a former chair of the World Renewable Energy Network and a former member of the BRE Trust that owns the UK Building Research Establishment. He founded the Centre for Sustainable Technologies,[11] is currently associated with the Dublin Energy Lab[12] and holds Honorary Professorships at University of Ulster and Harbin Institute of Technology.


Norton studied Physics at the University of Nottingham and Engineering at Cranfield University and holds Doctorates from both Universities.


In addition to contributing to numerous scientific publications on solar energy,[13] he is the author of several books including the widely-referenced "Harnessing Solar Heat"[14] and "Solar Energy Thermal Technology".[15] He contributed the chapter on "Industrial and Agricultural Applications of Solar Energy" to "Comprehensive Renewable Energy",[16] winner of the 2012 PROSE Award of the Association of American Publishers for best multi-volume reference work and "Solar Energy Collectors and their applications" to Solar Energy Science and Engineering Applications".[17] With Sarah McCormack of Trinity College Dublin, Norton contributed "The Shadows Cast by Inadequate Energy Governance: Why more Sun does not necessarily mean more photovoltaic electricity", to "Renewable Energy Governance: Challenges and Insecurities".[18] With Ali Shakouri and Helen McNally, both of Purdue University, Norton contributed "Solar Power and the Enabling Role of Nanotechnology" to "Understanding the Global Energy Crisis".[19]


  1. ^ "ITs or Tech Unis". Irish Times. 16 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "The transforming landscape of higher education in Ireland". Public Affairs Ireland. April 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Finishing touches as DIT campus opens in the heart of city". Irish Times. September 4, 2014. 
  4. ^ "DIT opens new campus in Grangegorman to first students". Irish Independent. September 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ "New President is appointed for DIT". Irish Independent. 27 April 2003. 
  6. ^ "Prof Brian Norton reappointed as DIT President". Irish Times. April 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Interest in solar water heating spreads globally". NewYork Times. September 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ Norton, Brian (2011) Solar Water Heaters: A Review of Systems Research and Design Innovation, Green. 1, 189–207, ISSN (Online) 1869-8778
  9. ^ "EuroCase website". 
  10. ^ "Action Renewables website". 
  11. ^ "Centre for Sustainable Technologies Website". 
  12. ^ "Dublin Energy Lab website". 
  13. ^ "Dublin Energy Lab website". 
  14. ^ Norton, Brian (2013). Harnessing Solar Heat. Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-7275-5. 
  15. ^ Norton, Brian (1992). Solar Energy Thermal Technology. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-1744-5. 
  16. ^ Sayigh A (Editor) (2012). Comprehensive Renewable Energy. Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-08-087872-0. 
  17. ^ Enteria N and Akbarzadeh A (Eds) (2013). Solar Energy Sciences and Engineering Applications. CRC Press. ISBN 1138000132. 
  18. ^ E Michalena (Editor) (2013). Renewable Energy Governance. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-5595-9. 
  19. ^ E. Coyle and R.A. Simmons, eds (2014). Understanding the Global Energy Crisis. Purdue University Press. ISBN 978 1 55753 661 7.