Fernando, Wattala


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Personal profile


Wattala Fernando joined the University of Dundee as a Lecturer in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in January 2023, following a Research Officer position at Hydrogen Accelerator, University of St Andrews. Fernando has over twenty years of hands-on experience in academia and industry. He utilises his experience and skills in Electronics, Electrical, Power and Energy Engineering with major organisations of both national and international reputation. He has also extensive research skills acquired through his academic work in energy system design, community energy projects, small-scale renewable energy projects and sustainable energy projects. His work provides a valuable link between universities and government energy authorities to make a proper dialogue to reform private energy sectors. He contributed knowledge and skills to implement projects and encourage private sector participation and always made excellent links with academia and industry.


Fernando is actively engaged in teaching within both Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and Renewable & Sustainability undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Currently, he supervises Honours year Mechanical with Renewable Engineering students and MSc Renewable and Sustainability students on projects aligned with his ongoing research interests.

His teaching responsibilities include:

  • ME21001 Software Applications for Mechanical Engineering Design
  • EG22009 Electronics and Instrumentation- Module Leader
  • ME31004 Engineering Design 1
  • RE42002 Wind and Marine Energy
  • RE51002 Renewable Energy Systems, Applications, and Developments- Module Leader
  • RE52003 Renewable Resource Modelling and Assessment- Module Leader


As a researcher, Fernando helped develop new energy models, techniques, and methods for analysing national and international local energy projects, collaborating with related stakeholders such as academia, industry, international organisations, associated councils and energy production companies. He has substantial grounding, experience and knowledge of modelling the local energy systems considering essential criteria and parameters such as policies, environmental impacts, economic constraints, energy demand and supply, and novel methods for design and implementation of sustainable power supply in rural and urban areas. His modelling and design experience also includes design and modelling the "Net Zero Carbon" energy and transport sector within the local energy systems, including new technologies such as battery technologies, H2 technology, wind, solar, biofuels and electric vehicle technologies.

Research Projects

  • June 2023 - ETP Hydrogen Innovation Programme- ARM Hub Hydrogen Energy Park to Decarbonize Heavy-Duty Vehicles: This initiative has provided vital support to the Angus Rural Mobility (ARM) Hub, initially introduced in prior ETP-funded work (PR062-ECS).
  • November 2022 – Feasibility, Planning and Development phases of Zero Emission Train- Conducted in collaboration with the Hydrogen Accelerator at St Andrews University and Transport Scotland, this project initiated a feasibility study in 2020 for converting a C314 train from Scotrail. The Zero Emission Train (ZET) project involves comprehensive system design and integration of a hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain onto the C314 train.
  • July 2022 - The Delivery of a New Low Carbon Transport Applications Centre (LOCATE) Located Within the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, Dundee - Hydrogen Accelerator, St Andrews University, Scottish Enterprise, MSIP, and Transport Scotland: Funded by Transport Scotland, LOCATE aims to provide an operational Power Train Test Bed (PTTB) facility, a first-of-its-kind, supporting the route-to-market development of heavy-duty Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs). The facility focuses on the development of vehicles, such as refuse collection and buses, utilizing hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric drivetrains.
  • June 2021- Seed funding project- British Council Researcher Links Climate Challenge - Workshop “Delivering a Sustainable Energy Transition for Pakistan” with Glasgow University and Lahore University of Management Science. - Techno-economic and social feasibility of off-grid solar PV power supply in rural communities of Pakistan
  • March 2021 - Planning of Eden Campus Energy Park- St Andrews University and Robertson Construction: The project's main objective is to enhance innovation in energy, storage, and conversion companies by providing scale-up facilities for the translation of Research & Development (R&D) into prototyping and manufacturing. Additionally, the project aims to develop processing capabilities relevant to battery, fuel cell, and catalyst manufacture. Offering test and development space where companies can access high-quality equipment, facilities, and university expertise are additional objectives within this endeavour.
  • April 2020 - Plan and Design of Ground Mounted Solar Plants- Undertaken in response to the 90MW and 150MW solar tenders published by the Ceylon Electricity Board of Sri Lanka.
  • March 2019 - Plan and Design of AD Plants- Initiated in alignment with the 2045 Net Zero Target, this project involved the planning and design of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants for Fife, Sterling, and Aberdeen City Councils in Scotland, United Kingdom
  • June 2017 – Dec 2019 - Design of Community Energy Projects- Collaborating with the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development (MGIRED)
  • August 2017 - August 2019 - Testing and Acceptance of Ground Mounted Solar Plants- Collaborating with Edinburgh Napier University, Nicosia University, and Tel Aviv University
  • September 2016 - September 2019 - Plan and Design of Energy from Waste Plants- Executed for locations in Karadiyana, Muthurajawela, and Dompe, Sri Lanka: This project entailed the planning and design of Energy from Waste plants with capacities of 12MW, 10MW, and 14MW respectively.
  • August 2016 – Dec 2018 - Plan and Design of Various Projects:
  • Design of a small-scale AD Plant utilizing elephant dung and an incinerator system with Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC)
  • Design of a macroscale AD plant for Ambewela Highland Farm in Sri Lanka
  • Designing renewable energy power solutions for mobile Base Transceiver Stations (BTS)


Research interests

Fernando's research expertise encompasses a wide range of areas, including:

  • Global, island, national, and international energy planning.
  • Smart cities, smart buildings, waste-to-energy projects, renewable energy technologies, integration of renewable energy technologies (RET)
  • Smart energy systems, electric vehicles, biofuels, bioenergy, hydrogen (H2) technology, and biomass generation using anaerobic digestion (AD) systems.
  • Emerging technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, A Feasibility Study of Development and Implementation of Smart Energy System for 100% Renewable Energy and Transport Solutions for Sri Lanka., Edinburgh Napier University

5 Jan 201620 Jun 2020

Award Date: 20 Jun 2020

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) PhD courses, Aalborg University

20 Apr 201614 Nov 2018

Award Date: 14 Nov 2018

Master of Science, Energy, water and environment management, Abertay University

8 Jan 201422 Jul 2015

Award Date: 22 Jul 2015

External positions

Technical Committee Member Techxchange Conference 2024 - Quaid-E-Awam of Engineering, Science, and Technology (QUEST), Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.

4 Nov 202320 Feb 2024

External Postgraduate Dissertation Supervisor Faculty of Engineering and Science, University of Agder (Norway)

10 Oct 2023 → …

Academic Adjunct NSBM Green University - Sri Lanka

12 Aug 2023 → …

Visiting Lecturer University of Applied Management Studies - Mannheim - Germany

10 Feb 2023 → …

External Academic Supervisor Quaid-E-Awam of Engineering, Science, and Technology (QUEST), Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.

20 Jun 2021 → …

Lecturer – Casual University of Applied Management Studies - Mannheim - Germany

10 Nov 201930 Dec 2021

Associate Lecturer Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

18 Jan 201630 Jun 2020

Voluntary Lab Assistant University of Abertay, Dundee, UK

5 Apr 201530 Jun 2015

Voluntary Energy Design Engineer Solar Cities Scotland, Dundee, UK

10 Jun 201410 Jun 2015

Mentor/Lecturer St Andrews University, St Andrews, UK

5 Jun 201430 Jul 2016


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