Camilla Thomson


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An Electrical and Mechanical Engineer by training, with a background in Electrical Building Services, Camilla now teaches about sustainable energy and researches the environmental impacts of energy. Currently this mostly involves developing better tools and techniques to analyse the climate change impact or carbon footprint of changes to the electricity system: whether new renewable energy developments, new transmission lines or even new market operations.

Ultimately, Camilla is keen to better understand the consequential environmental impacts of decarbonisation activities in the energy sector. This includes examining interventions at the generation, transmission and demand levels to ensure that policy, investment and design of the energy transition achieves rapid, affordable decarbonisation, while limiting other environmental damage. 

A particular focus of her work is developing and improving analytical tools to provide robust estimates of carbon emissions of proposed changes to energy technologies and systems. The basis of this lies in considering the marginal environmental costs and benefits; combining her background in Electrical & Mechanical Engineering with a detailed understanding of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and marginal analysis techniques adapted from economics.

Camilla is a Co-Investigator in the EnergyREV project, leading the work package on developing a Multi-Criteria Assessment tool for Smart Local Energy Systems. She is also the Deputy Co-ordinator on the NEWEST-CCUS project, and is leading a multi-disciplinary international team on the specific task of robustly quantifying the atmospheric-carbon-reduction-potential of waste-to-energy plants with carbon capture and storage.

Camilla is also a keen advocate for diversity in Engineering. She is the founding chair of the School's Molly Fergusson Initiative, and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering - Sustainability in 2020. 

Her pronouns are she/her.

Research Interests

  • Consequential environmental impacts of changes to energy systems
  • Life Cycle Assessment of energy technologies
  • Carbon emissions offsets, displacements and reductions from energy technologies and carbon capture
  • Optimisation of energy systems for minimum cost and carbon
  • Renewable resource assessment


MSc Sustainable Energy Systems - Dissertation supervision

Technologies for Sustainable Energy - Lecturer and course-organiser

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Carbon and Energy Payback of Variable Renewable Generation, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2014

Master of Engineering, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2004


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