P. (Piero) Colonna di Paliano P. (Piero) Colonna di Paliano


Current Position

Full Professor, Chair of Propulsion and Power   
Director of the Aerospace Engineering Graduate School



  • M.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, 1991.
  • M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, USA, 1995.
  • Ph.D. in Energy Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, 1996. 

Work Experience

  • 2021-current, Director, Aerospace Engineering Graduate School, TU Delft, The Netherlands.
  • 2013-current, Full Professor, Propulsion and Power, TU Delft, The Netherlands.
  • 2002-2013, Associate Professor, Renewable Energy Systems, TU Delft, The Netherlands.
  • 2005-2006, Interim Head of the Energy Technology Section, TU Delft, The Netherlands.
  • 1997-2002, Assistant Professor, Fluid Machinery, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.
  • 1996-2003, Founder and Partner of AustEx - Exergy Management s.r.l., Milano, Italy.
  • 1995, Research Assistant, Engineering Thermodynamics, Stanford University, California.
  • 1991-1996,  Energy Engineering consultant, Studio Tecnico SPELL, Milano, Italy.


  • Organic Rankine Cycle Power Systems
  • Supercritical CO2 Cycle Power Systems
  • Heat pumps
  • Unconventional Turbomachinery
  • Integrated process & components design optimization
  • Automated turbomachinery fluid dynamic design
  • (Dynamic) system modeling and simulation
  • Non Ideal Compressible Fluid Dynamics (NICFD)
  • Thermodynamic Properties of Pure Fluids and Mixtures


1995, Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, Milano, Italy.
The grant funded the Master studies at Stanford University. Only two grants were awarded each year in Italy.

1996, Italian Ministry of the University and Scientific Research, post-doctoral fellowship, Milano, Italy. 

2004, NWO VIDI grant, personal grant from the Dutch Science Foundation for the project BZT Fluids for energy conversion applications.

2008, Best Paper Award of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exhibition (IMECE), 11-15 Nov., Seattle, WA, 2007.

2009-2010, Best lecturer award of the Master programs "Sustainable Processes and Energy technologies" and "Solid and Fluid Mechanics" of the Delft University of Technology.

2011-2012, Best lecturer award of the Master programs "Sustainable Processes and Energy technologies" and "Solid and Fluid Mechanics" of the Delft University of Technology. 


Selected projects 
  • CC-Powertrain for trucks
  • Mini-ORC turbogenerator for 0-energy buildings
  • BZT fluids for small power systems
  • Non-ideal Compressible Fluid Dynamics for Turbomachinery
  • Novel ECS for aircraft
  • CC-engine and CC-APU for next-generation aircraft
  • sCO2 power cycle for waste heat recovery
  • Thermal Energy harvesting on board of aircraft
  • Methods for ultra-compact aerospace heat exchangers design
  • Mixtures as working fluids for ORC systems

Other Positions and Memberships

Publications List (Selected or Complete)

Selected articles

A. Guardone, P. Colonna, M. Pini, and A. Spinelli. Nonideal compressible fluid dynamics of dense vapors and supercritical fluids. Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 56:241–269, 2024. DOI

S. Vitale, M. Pini, and  P. ColonnaMulti-stage turbomachinery design using the discrete adjoint method within the open-source software SU2.  J. Propul. Power, 36(3):465–478, 2020.  DOI  
W. C. Reynolds and  P. ColonnaThermodynamics: fundamentals and engineering applications. Cambridge University Press, September 2018.  DOI  
P. Colonna, E. Casati, C. Trapp, T. Mathijssen, J. Larjola, T. Turunen-Saaresti, and A. Uusitalo.  Organic Rankine cycle power systems: From the concept to current technology, applications, and an outlook to the futureJ. Eng. Gas Turb. Power, 137(10):100801–100820, 2015.   DOI       
 F. Casella and  P. ColonnaDynamic modeling of IGCC power plantsAppl. Therm. Eng., 35:91–111,  2012.  DOI
P. Colonna, J. Harinck, S. Rebay, and A. Guardone.  Real-gas effects in organic Rankine cycle turbine nozzles J. Propul. Power, 24(2):282–294, 2008.  DOI

C. Zamfirescu, A. Guardone, and  P. ColonnaAdmissibility region for rarefaction shock waves in dense gases J. Fluid Mech., 599:363–381, 2008.  DOI
P. Colonna and A. Guardone.  Molecular interpretation of nonclassical gas dynamics of dense vapors under the van der Waals modelPhys. Fluids, 18(5):056101–1–14, 2006.  DOI 
P. Colonna, N. R. Nannan, A. Guardone, and E. W. Lemmon.  Multiparameter equations of state for selected siloxanesFluid Phase Equilib., 244:193–211, 2006.  DOI

Google Scholar 

Supervision of Doctoral Candidates

Former Doctoral Candidates
  1. Prof. Dr. Paolo Silva (Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano)    
  2. Dr. Falk Ahnert (Head of Global Development Support, Wintershall)   
  3. Dr. Hans van Putten (Software Product Development Manager, Department Head at Deltares)    
  4. Dr. Ryan Nannan (Dean of the Mech. Eng. Dept., Anton De Kom University, Board Member at Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname)     
  5. Dr. John Harinck (Program manager, Institute for Sustainable Process Technologies - ISPT)
  6. Dr. Emiliano Casati (PostDoc research associate, ETH Zurich, PREC group, Emiliano is one of the recipient of the European individual fellowship Marie S. Curie-Global)    
  7. Dr. Carsten Trapp (Senior Analyst, Structuring & Valuation, Vattenfall)
  8. Dr. Enrico Rinaldi (Software Developer, Maxon)
  9. Dr. Tiemo Mathijssen (Expert, meteorological instrumentation, Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut - KNMI)
  10. Dr. Sebastian Bahamonde (Simulation Engineer, ASML)
  11. Dr. Salvatore Vitale (Software Engineer, ING)
  12. Dr. Lucia Azzini (Thermal Engineer, GE Avio Aero)
  13. Dr. Antonio Rubino (Product & Engineering Manager, PlanetWatch)
  14. Dr. André Perpignan (Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer, Thermon)
  15. Dr. Nitish Anand (Senior Researcher at VITO)
  16. Dr. Adam Head (Research Engineer at TU Delft)
  17. Dr. Francesco Mazza (PostDoc Researcher at TU Delft)
  18. Dr. Francesco Tosto (Senior Researcher at VITO)
  19. Dr. Nitish Chandrasekar (PostDoc Researcher at TU Delft)
  20. Dr. Andrea GiuffrĂ© (PostDoc Researcher at TU Delft) 
Current Doctoral Candidates
  1. Federica Ascione
  2. Leonardo Castellanos
  3. Dabo Krempus
  4. Fabio Beltrame
  5. Matteo Majer
  6. Praharsh Pai Raikar
  7. Aude Lecardonnel
  8. Lorenzo Galieti
  9. Francesco Neri
  10. Alessio Secchiaroli
  11. Paul Gradl
  12. Behnam Parizad Benam
  13. Francesco Sinopoli
  14. Wessel De Waart
  15. Floyd van Steen
  16. Izaz Gul
  17. Ruben Meireles

A bit about myself

I was interviewed by our marketing and information department when I was appointed professor: the transcript of the interview is displayed on the TU Delft Aerospace Engineering website  here.

My inaugural lecture can be seen here.

I am a passionate lecturer of Thermodynamics and organized an International Symposium titled  Teaching and Learning Thermodynamics in a Time of Change. A taste of it in these videos


Music, literature, photography, gardening, skiing, trekking and sailing 

Read more




  • 2019-12-17

    NWO Open Technology Program Grant

    Prof. Colonna, voorzitter van de onderzoeksgroep Propulsion and Power, en zijn collega’s Dr. De Servi, Dr. Pini en Dr. Vos hebben een NWO Open Technology Program Grant van € 1.300.000 ontvangen voor het onderzoeksproject "Waste Heat Recovery Systems for More Electric Aircraft". Het doel van dit programma is het ontwikkelen van een baanbrekende technologie voor de terugwinning van restwarmte die de brandstofefficiëntie van vliegtuigen sterk zal verhogen, namelijk ultralichte organic Rankine cycle (ORC) power systems.

    Twee toepassingen maken deel uit van het onderzoek. Een kan eerder op de markt worden gebracht, namelijk een auxiliary power unit (APU) op basis van gasturbines met ORC-restwarmte-terugwinning die alle benodigde elektrische energie tijdens de vlucht levert met een zeer hoog rendement. Voor de wat verdere toekomst wordt gekeken naar turbofanmotor met gecombineerde cyclus. Het team zal nieuwe stroom- en motorconfiguraties bestuderen die radicaal nieuwe ontwerpen voor zowel turbomachinerie als warmtewisselaarcomponenten toepassen.

Ancillary activities