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Key People

The AGGAT team members are a unique collection of world class researchers from top ranking NZ universities, highly reputed heavy engineering industry partners with proven engineering, fabrication and manufacturing skills as well as international R&D partners specialising in power generation technology.

Mohammed Farid, BSc, MSc, PhD FIChemE. CEng


Mohammed Farid obtained his PhD and MSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Swansea, Wales and his BSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Baghdad. Within his busy research portfolio, Mohammed has maintained an active interest in the research area of energy involving heat transfer and thermal storage. His research achievements included novel heat processing devices and heat exchanger designs involving phase change materials. Mohammed brings a proven track record in heat transfer engineering with the ability to innovate from fundamental principles as demonstrated from his extensive research portfolio. He has authored over 250 papers with a high proportion focusing on heat transfer research. Mohammed is leading key research aims in heat transfer and design for power generation within the AGGAT programme.

Wei Yu, BE, MChemEng, PhD.


Wei Yu obtained his PhD and Masters in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University in Canada and his BE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Liaoning University of Petroleum and Chemical Technology in China. Wei’s research interests include process control, control performance assessment, multivariate data analysis and system identification. Wei Yu has authored a number of papers in process control research and is leading key research areas in control systems in the AGGAT programme.

Sadiq Zarrouk, BE, PGDip, ME, PhD


Sadiq Zarrouk obtained his PhD in Engineering Science, Masters in Engineering and Post Graduate Diploma in Geothermal Energy Technology from the University of Auckland. His BSc was in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Baghdad. Sadiq has a specialised interest in geothermal engineering including reservoir engineering, power production and silica scaling. He holds memberships of the Board of Directors of the New Zealand Geothermal Association as well as the International Geothermal Association. Sadiq has authored a number of papers in geothermal technology research and is leading key research areas in geothermal scaling in the AGGAT programme.

Brent Young, BE (Hons), PhD (Cantuar), FIChemE. CEng


Dr. Brent Young has a PhD in Chemical & Process Engineering and has significant experience in process simulation and control as well as process development and design. Brent is leading two research streams being control technology research and control systems development.

'I consider the application of modern computer simulation and control techniques to geothermal technology to be essential to the creation of value-added goods and services by New Zealand industry. In a rapidly emerging world of smart grids and distributed generation, computer simulation will provide knowledge necessary to produce highly integrated solutions for the geothermal industry. Modern control techniques offer the ability to make the optimal use of the available equipment, even under highly variable conditions. I am therefore very excited about the prospects of the AGGAT program to produce a transformation of manufacturing in the geothermal space.'

Michael Gschwendtner, Dipl.-Ing., PhD (Munich)


Dr. Michael Gschwendtner has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a strong background in thermodynamics, thermo-fluid-dynamics, and heat transfer. He has an active interest in Stirling cycle research, ranging from power producing engines to refrigerators and cryocoolers. Recent research projects include development of:

  • A Stirling-type Vuilleumier cryocooler
  • A solar-powered Stirling refrigerator
  • A Stirling engine for power generation from low-temperature heat sources

"The pressing environmental issues require a global paradigm shift. The development of sustainable technologies is a critical part of the overall picture, and I believe that it is in our responsibility as scientists and engineers to make our contribution. AGGAT is a highly commendable initiative by HERA which bears huge potential and a great opportunity for New Zealand. I'm very excited to be part of a big team, and I'm looking forward to collaborating with others towards a common goal."

John Vedamuthu Kennedy, BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr. Kennedy holds a PhD in Physics and has specialist experience in surface coating modification using ion beam technology. Dr. Kennedy is leading multiple coating technology projects and via Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) is collaborating with the NZ Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) in AGGAT research on heat transfer and corrosion effects with different coated surfaces.


Lei Chen, PhD, ME, BE

Lei Chen obtained his PhD and ME in Mechanical Engineering from Beihang University in Beijing, China. His research interests are aerodynamic optimization design for turbine, parametric modeling of passage and blade and computational fluid dynamics. Lei Chen has authored a number of papers on turbine design research and is leading the AGGAT research efforts in turbine design.

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Boaz Habib, BE (Hons), PhD (Auckland), AMIChemE

Dr. Boaz Habib has a PhD in Chemical and Materials Engineering and brings his industrial R&D experience to the mix with his background in industrial pilot scale plant design and commissioning. Boaz is leading the research stream on plant modules and standardisation to produce standardised system concepts for AGGAT products.

‘The AGGAT programme is industry driven ensuring that research is tightly focussed on industry needs, this means that what we do is highly relevant and readily applied in industry, which is a winning model.’

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Michail Karpenko, Dipl-Ing (KPI), PhD

Dr. Michail Karpenko has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and brings depth to the programme in materials technology with his background in welding processes and materials science and is leading the materials knowledge base research stream. This stream will inform the selection of materials that go into the design of power plants and direct use and allied technologies, which are subject to a variety of operating environments.

‘Our strong links to industry mean that we have a lot of hands on experience in materials and their practical use, which we bring to the AGGAT program.’

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Rajnish N Sharma, BE, PhD

Rajnish Sharma obtained his PhD and BE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Auckland. His research interests include fluid flows with and without heat transfer from micro scales to large atmospheric scales. Recent projects include jet turbulence and impingement heat transfer, pulsed jets for heat transfer enhancement, ultra micro gas turbine component research (e.g. micro combustor, turbo-machinery), unsteady fluid dynamics of wind and tidal turbines, wind engineering and industrial aerodynamics, and thermal fluid dynamic problems, to name a few. Rajnish’s work utilises analytical, experimental, and numerical (CFD) techniques. He has authored papers across fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and thermal flow areas which provides him with a strong background to advise on multidisciplinary research such as on turbines and heat exchangers in the context of power generation and energy efficiency. Rajnish has a key involvement in research aims focusing on turbo-machinery development and heat transfer and design as well as in the AGGAT programme.

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