Dr. Peter Armstrong

Dr. Peter Armstrong

Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Office:+971 2 810 9150
Email: peter.armstrong@ku.ac.ae


Prof. Armstrong completed his BSc in Engineering Design and Economic Evaluation from the University of Colorado in 1975 and MSc, Mechanical Engineering, from Colorado State University in1980 where he was responsible for instrumentation and monitoring of the second of three NSF research houses at the Solar Energy Appli­ca­tions Laboratory.  He continued to work at SEAL as research engineer in charge of the REconfigurable Passive Energy Analysis and Test (REPEAT) facility until 1985 when he founded Colorado Energy Associates.  At CEA he led DOE and ASHRAE research projects on control of thermal transients and solar gains in buildings as well as numerous energy analysis projects for NREL, local architects, and private clients. He provided technical assistance to the Gansu Natural Energy Research Institute, PRC under a UNDP grant.  He joined Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 1990 to lead a number of Federal Energy Management projects (NPS-Ellis Island, five FORSCOM sites , WGNAS, Rome AFB, etc.). Armstrong directed instrumentation of 40 buildings in six Russian cities under the World Bank Enterprise Housing Divestiture Project 1995-98 and was recognized as one of the Lab’s top 30 inventors 2000-2003. He received his PhD from MIT, Building Technology program, in 2004.  Armstrong is a Fellow of ASHRAE.  He serves on several technical and standards committees and recently completed a term as chair of TC1.13, Optimization, from 2017-2019.

Advisor to the following students and research staff:

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

  • Omer Qureshi
  • Tuza Olukan

PhD Student

  • Radia Lahlou (co-advisor)

MSc Students

  • Raghad El Saleh
  • Mariam Alansaari (co-advisor)
  • PhD, Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA (2004)
  • MSc, Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, USA (1980)
  • BSc, Engineering Design & Econ, University of Colorado, USA (1975)

Ph.D. Building Technology (2004), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Model Identification with Application to Building Control and Fault Detection

M.S. Mechanical Engineering (1980), Colorado State University

How Weather Persistence Affects the Performance of Solar Space Heating Systems

B.S. Engineering Design and Economic Evaluation (1975), University of Colorado

Optimization of Solar Heating Systems

  • MEEG385 Heat Transfer
  • MEEN601 Advanced Thermodynamics
  • MEEN616 Solar Thermal Analysis, Design and Testing
  • MEEN703 Inference and Estimation from Models and Data
  • MEEN711 Advanced Heat Pump Modeling and Optimization

Research Topics:

▪ Thermal energy storage (TES) in buildings and energy plants; optimal control with TES, DG and DR; waste heat recovery.

▪ Controls for thermofluid, motor/transport, other energy systems; model-based control, model pridictive control (MPC); sensor systems.

▪ Infiltration, ventilation, and contaminant transport and dispersion; multi-zone and CFD modeling.

▪ Fault modeling & detection: motors, pumps, compressors, refrigeration equip’t.

▪ Small-scale heat and mass transfer (combustor, absorption heat pump): device design and lab testing.

▪ HVAC, solar thermal, solar desalination and other energy systems analysis, design, commissioning and control.

▪ CSP optical systems, receivers, aberration correction, heliostat tracking systems.

▪ CSP measurement systems: flux maps, receiver/calorimeter, circumsolar radiation.

▪ Solar desalination and liquid desiccant regeneration.

▪ Thermal modeling of high temperature receivers and terminal concentrators.

▪ Utility and microgrid end-use metering; non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM).

▪ Environmental monitoring: solar & wind resource, atmospheric aerosols, urban heat island.

▪ Field monitoring: utility systems, microhydro, solar, HVAC and central plants


Research Projects

  • Sunshape Profiling Irradiometer, Innovation Grant (US 8981272), PI: Peter Armstrong, 2018-present.  Four instruments are in beta test at MISP, PNNL,SRRL-NREL and SRML-U.Oregon and retrieval algorithms have been developed.  vimeo.com/144198659 vimeo.com/185043047

  • Suqia Low-cost Efficient Solar Desalination, Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Water Award in Innova­tion (USpp 62/472,287) PI: Peter Armstrong, 2018-present.  Targeting impoverished water-scarce regions, solar humidification-dehumidification process utilizes low-cost perforated cotton fabric as combined solar collector & humidifier that extracts 2X the water flux of traditional glass covered basin still.


  • EAA-MOEI MEPS Chiller, Ministry of Energy & Industry, PI: Peter Armstrong, 2017-Present. Advanced air-cooled chiller design raises “high performance” standard SCOP from 3.4 to 5.2 on track to save the UAE 2 Bn aed/yr at full market penetration.


  • Optimal MPC of District Cooling Plants, Tabreed, Peter Armstrong, 2018-Present.  Optimal cooling- tower fan-speed control imple­men­ted in Plant AD-12 to realize 4% annual energy savings at no capital cost.


  • Urban Heat Island Model and Verification. PI/Co-I: Afshin Afshari, Prashanth Marpu, Zayer Aung, Peter Armstrong 2015-2018. 25 lamp-post met-stations were designed/built/deployed in central Abu Dhabi to measure building & street surface temperatures, ambient air at 2.5, 4.0, 5.5, 7.0 and 8.5m, irradiance and local wind speed.


  • CSPonD Molten Salt Receiver. PI/Co-I: Nikolas Calvet, Alex Slocum, Tariq Shamim, Peter Armstrong, 2015-2018. Masdar Beam Down Optical Experiment – MIT collaboration: Design and demonstration of world’s first directly-irradiated molten salt receiver integrated with terminal concentrator and 550°C thermal energy storage for dispatchable concentrated solar power. vimeo.com/259461409

Selected Publications  (see full list web.mit.edu/parmstr/www)

  • Gayeski, N.T., P.R. Armstrong and L.K. Norford, 2011. Empirical modeling of a rolling-piston compressor heat pump for predictive control in low-lift cooling. ASHRAE Transactions.
  • Gayeski, N.T., P.R. Armstrong and L.K. Norford, 2011. Predictive pre-cooling of thermo-active building systems with low-lift chillers, International J. HVAC&R Research, special issue on optimization.
  • Zakula, T., N.T. Gayeski, P.R. Armstrong and L.K. Norford, 2011. Variable-speed heat pump model for a wide range of cooling conditions and load, ASHRAE Transactions
  • A. Qadir and P.R. Armstrong, Liquid-air transpired solar collector: model development and sensitivity analysis, (in review) ASME J Solar Energy Engineering
  • Ali, M.T., M.M. Mokhtar, M. Chiesa, P.R. Armstrong, 2011, A cooling change-point model of community-aggregate electrical load, Energy and Buildings, 43(1):28-37
  • Mokhtar, M.M., M.T. Ali, S. Bräuniger, A. Afshari, S. Sgouridis, P.R. Armstrong and M. Chiesa., Comprehensive techno-economic assessment of solar cooling technologies using location-specific climate data, Applied Energy 87(12):3766-3778
  • A. Qadir and P.R. Armstrong, Hybrid liquid-air transpired solar collector: model development and sensitivity analysis, ASME IMECE2010-40571 Vancouver, November 2010
  • Mokhtar M., I. Rubalcaba, S. Meyers, A. Qadir, P.R. Armstrong and M. Chiesa: Heliostat field efficiency test of beam-down CSP pilot plant: experimental results, SolarPACES 2010 Conference
  • Meyers S., A. Qadir, I. Rubalcaba, M. Mokhtar, M. Chiesa, and P. Armstrong: Development of a correlation between luminous intensity and solar flux for the beam-down tower configuration. SolarPACES 2010 Conference
  • Armstrong, P.R., S. Katipamula, W. Jiang, D. Winiarski, L.K. Norford, and R.A. Willingham. 2009. Efficient low-lift cooling with radiant distribution, thermal storage and variable-speed chiller controls, International J. HVAC&R Research, 15(2):366-400; 402-432
  • Laughman, C.R., P.R. Armstrong, S.B. Leeb, L.K. Norford. Electrical and mechanical methods for detecting liquid slugging in reciprocating compressors, 20th Int’l Compressor Engrg. Conf. 2008
  • Armstrong, P.R., C.R. Laughman, S.B. Leeb, L.K. Norford. Detection of rooftop cooling unit faults based on electrical measurements, International J. HVAC&R Research 2006
  • Armstrong, P.R., L.K. Norford, S.B. Leeb. Control with building mass—Part I: Thermal response model identification; Part II: Simulation, ASHRAE Transactions, 112(1). 2006
  • Laughman, C.R., P.R. Armstrong, L.K. Norford, S.B. Leeb. Detection of liquid slugging phenomena in reciprocating compressors via power measurements, 18th Int’l Compressor Engrg.Conf. 2006
  • Armstrong P.R. and G.P. Sullivan. Assessment of Packaged PEM Fuel Cell CHP Systems. Invited Paper, Cogeneration and DG Journal, 21(2) 25-46. 2006. (See PNNL-SA-46044)
  • Armstrong, P.R., C.R. Laughman , S.B. Leeb , L.K. Norford. Fault detection based on motor start transients and shaft harmonics measured at the RTU electrical service, 10th Int’l Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conf. 2004
  • Armstrong, P.R., D.L. Hadley, R.D. Stenner, M.C. Janus. Whole-building airflow network char-acterization by a many-pressure-states (MPS) technique, ASHRAE Transactions, 107(2), 2001
  • Armstrong, P.R., J.A. Dirks, R.W. Reilly, J.W. Currie, R.J. Nesse, B. Nekrasov, O.V. Komarov. Russian apartment building thermal response models for retrofit selection and verification, 2000 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
  • Katipamula, S., P.R. Armstrong, M.R. Brambley, D.P. Chassin and R.G. Pratt. Building Controls and Facilities Management in 21st Century, 2000 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
  • Armstrong, P.R., J.A. Dirks, L.A. Klevgard, Y. Matrosov, J. Olkinaru, D. Saum. Infiltration and ventila-tion in Russian multi-family buildings, 1996 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
  • Armstrong, P.R., C.E. Hancock and J.E. Seem. Commercial building temperature recovery–Part I: Design procedure based on a step-response model, ASHRAE Transactions, 98(1) 1992
  • Bechtel, T.N. and P.R. Armstrong. Room air stratification model for TRNSYS, Proceedings of the American Section, International Solar Energy Society. Boston, 1988.
  • Armstrong, P.R. and P.D. Heerman. Microprocessor-based hot-wire anemometry system for measuring air movement within the CSU Solar thermal test facility, First National Conference on Microcomputer Applications for Conservation and Renewable Energy, 1985.
  • Burns, P.J., P.R. Armstrong and C.B. Winn, Summertime Test Results from the REPEAT Facility, ASME Solar Energy Division Sixth Annual Technical Conference, 8-12 April 1984, Las Vegas, NV.
  • Winn, C.B. and P.R. Armstrong, Solar Heating and Cooling Control Subsystems, commissioned survey paper, National Bureau of Standards Workshop on Controls, 12 Aug 1983; also appears as Appendix B of Research Priorities for Improving the Effectiveness of Active Solar Hot Water and Space Conditioning Systems, by Robert D. Dikkers, et al, NBSIR 84-2980, 1984 Gaithersburg, MD.
  • Armstrong, P.R.. Instrumentation of solar heating and cooling systems at CSU, invited paper, Second Annual Workshop on Performance Monitoring, Florida Solar Energy Center, 1983
  • Armstrong, P.R. Extension of the Hottel-Whillier model to multi-stage collector systems, Proceedings of the American Section, International Solar Energy Society, Denver, 1978.
  • Friedrich, M. and P. R. Armstrong, Demonstration of a 30 kW Microturbine with Heat Recovery in a 500-Soldier Barracks, PNNL-SA-42339, ASHRAE Winter Meeting, Chicago, 2004.
  • Armstrong, P.R., E.E. Richman, D.R. Dixon, and S. Rowley, Large-Scale DSM Verification at Fort Drum, New York, ASHRAE Annual Meeting, San Diego, June 1995.
  • Armstrong, P.R., E.E. Richman, D.R. Dixon, and S. Rowley, DSM Implementation and Verification at Fort Drum, New York, World Energy Engineering Conference, PNL-SA-23961, December 1994.
  • Karaki, S. and P.R. Armstrong, Air Conditioning by Nocturnal Evaporative Cooling of a Pebble-Bed,. Solar Cooling Conference, 15-17 Feb 1978, San Francisco, CA.

New to site? Create an Account


Lost password? (close)

Already have an account? Login