Dr David Barns

Dr David Barns


I am a researcher and policy specialist in heat decarbonisation. Since 2013, I have been focused on tackling climate change via practical and positive steps, combining academic study with professional application.

From 2017-2022, I completed my PhD on thermal energy storage deployment in the UK, exploring issues such as national and local policy, business models, and organisational decision-making, and how these affect local implementation of thermal energy storage in low carbon heat systems.

My PhD study has been followed by my post-doctoral roles concentrating on policy analysis and engagement. Alongside my academic and professional work, I am a local climate and social justice campaigner. 

Research interests

I am currently exploring non-technical aspects of energy geostructure deployment. Energy geostructures are novel dual-purpose buried structures such as tunnels, waste water networks and building foundations which can act as a source and storage medium for thermal energy alongside their primary function.

Energy geostructures can potentially open up access to extensive and uptapped renewable heat sources and offer cost savings compared to alternatives. However, they feature limited deployment beyond pilot and test phase and come with challenges such as long development timeframes with early decision requirments, and the need to connect to future heat networks to supply a range of users, which must be overcome.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD "Unlocking the potential for thermal energy storage in the UK", University of Leeds, 2017-22
  • MSc Renewable Energy Development, Heriot-Watt University, 2013-14
  • BSc Management & International Relations, Lancaster University, 2001-4