Staff profile

Professor Christopher Sansom

Professor of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and Theme Lead, Zero Carbon

Christopher Sansom looking up at the solar power water tank - for Zero Carbon


Innovation and Research





I am a Professor of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power), and Lead the Zero Carbon Theme, at the University of Derby. After my PhD, I worked in research labs for Plessey, GEC, Marconi, and PerkinElmer, before entering academia with Cranfield University where I remain a Visiting Professor. I have also been an Open University (OU) course tutor and Associate Lecturer for over 35 years.

I am the sole UK representative on the EERA-Joint Committee on CSP which steers EU research in CSP and heads up the Line-Focus research group with the JC-CSP. I am a member of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). I have considerable teaching experience, and I am a former MSc Course Director and lecturer on low carbon and renewable energy topics. Within the University of Derby, I lead all research related to Zero Carbon. This research is divided into three research Centres:

Research interests

My current CSP research includes concentrating solar power for electrical power generation, solar collector characterisation and ageing evaluation, polymer films for solar power plant heliostats and line-focus solar collectors, linear Fresnel community-scale CSP, heliostat design and manufacture, solar thermal heating and cooling, solar-driven desalination and water purification, thermal storage, and nanostructured thermoelectric devices for energy harvesting.

Within the broader “zero-carbon” field I am active in the decarbonisation of UK power generation (renewable energy, energy storage in particular), low-carbon built environment and smart cities, carbon capture and storage, low carbon transport, as well as the environmental and social impact of zero-carbon technologies on local communities.

Membership of professional bodies


I also have a black-belt six-sigma qualification from Warwick University and hold the National Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. I am also a member of the International Association of Bookkeepers (MIAB).

Recent conferences

SolarPACES is the main annual conference and exhibition for CSP academics, researchers, and commercial delegates. I have been closely involved with SolarPACES since 2010.

 Conference Scientific Committee

Conference Session Chair

Conference paper reviewer

Experience in industry

Having worked in industry for over twenty years I have a good understanding of the needs of manufacturing and service industries. I led research teams in Plessey, GEC, and Marconi in the manufacturing sector, and also experienced service industry development whilst Operations Manager at Amazon Inc. During my fifteen years in academia I have helped many start-up companies and SMEs to develop their products and processes.

International experience

I have many international links through my research on Concentrating Solar Power over the last fifteen years.

Recent collaborations include work with Egypt, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Jordan, India, Algeria, Pakistan, Palestine, and Nigeria.

Additional interests and activities


Book contributions:

In the media

Newspaper and Magazine contributions:

Press releases:



Recent publications