James Turner, Ph.D.


Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Building 5, Level 4, Room 4222

Research Interests

Prof. Turner's research interests are primarily in the field of spark-ignition combustion, pressure charging, alternative low-carbon fuels, e-fuels, and novel engine and powertrain concepts, all with a particular emphasis on transport. This emphasis has been driven by many years working in the automotive industry and hence gaining a clear understanding of the challenges facing it. A major current research direction is the employment of hydrogen for motive power generation, both in combustion engines and fuel cells. The latter includes investigation of their integration into cycles with engines in order to improve overall efficiency and to provide new routes to fossil CO2 mitigation and sequestration.

Selected Publications


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Loughborough University, UK, 2011
  • M.Eng., Mechanical Engineering, City, University of London, UK, 1987

Professional Profile

  • 2021-Present: Professor of Mechanical Engineering, CCRC, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2015-2021: Professor of Engines and Energy Systems, University of Bath, UK
  • 2012-2014: Manager of Spark-Ignition Engine Research, Jaguar Land Rover, UK
  • 2002-2012: Chief Engineer, Powertrain Research, Lotus Engineering, UK
  • 1994-2002: Various Engineer Positions, Powertrain Department, Lotus Engineering, UK
  • 1991-1994: Project Engineer, F1 and IndyCar Departments, Cosworth Engineering, UK
  • 1988-1991: Development Engineer, Powertrain Department, Lotus Engineering, UK
  • 1987-1988: Project Engineer, Engine Department, Norton Motorcycles, UK

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers
  • Member of the Combustion Institute


  • 2020 Viscount Weir Prize, Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • 2015 Harry L. Horning Memorial Award, Society of Automotive Engineers
  • 2015 Arch. T. Colwell Award, Society of Automotive Engineers
  • 2010 Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award, Society of Automotive Engineers

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Clean Combustion Research Center (CCRC)
  • Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE)

Research Interests Keywords

Spark-ignition Engines Pressure Charging e-Fuels Powertrain Concepts Fuel Cells