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Bio-inspired morphing blades for wind and tidal turbines

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

BACKGROUND. Europe, and the UK within Europe, is world leader in offshore wind and tidal research and device development. The world’s first arrays of both floating offshore wind (Peterhead, 2017) and tidal turbines (Meygen and Nova’s Bluemull Sound, 2016) have now been deployed in Scotland. Hence, it is timely for the UK to become global leader in the manufacture and supply chain of key components in these emerging sectors. The wind and tidal industries are at different stages of development, but for both these sectors to develop further, they need new technology to be developed to address some common challenges.

THE CHALLENGE OF UNSTEADY LOADING AND POWER FLUCTUATIONS. The large flow fluctuations induced by the shear and turbulence of the onset flow, yaw misalignment, interaction with the support structures, and wakes of the upstream devices are a major challenge to the design of both wind and tidal turbines. Tidal turbines also experience extreme load fluctuations due to the effect of ocean waves. In both these industry sectors, flow fluctuations result in vibrations transmitted from the blades to the rest of the turbine making fatigue failures a key limit to reliability. Secondly, unsteady loadings are reflected into power output fluctuations, which result in over-dimensioned power-take-off systems. Ultimately, this increases the levelised cost of energy (LCoE), which is the average minimum price at which electricity must be sold in order to break-even over the lifetime of the project.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES. This project aims to develop a new-concept blade for both wind and tidal rotors, that mitigates the unsteady loadings by adapting its shape to load fluctuations. This technology exceeds the performance of active systems such as pitch control, with the simplicity and reliability of passive systems such as hydroelastic tailoring. Blades are equipped with a flexible trailing edge, whose flexibility and initial shape varies along the blade span. When the fluid velocity varies, the trailing edge passively changes shape mitigating the load fluctuation. The deformable trailing edge has a fraction of the inertia of the full blade and, hence, it can react to high frequency fluctuations.

RESEARCH ENVIRONMENT. The student will join the CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures, which is jointly led by the Universities of Edniburgh, Oxford and Strathclyde. As part of the CDT, the student will attend specialist courses from October to February, and will start the research project from February. She/he will be based within the Institute for Energy Systems (IES) of the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. IES is a world-leading multi-disciplinary research institute with a strong focus on offshore renewable energy.
The student will join Ignazio Maria Viola’s research group: the Vortex Interaction Collaboratory (VOILAb).

• Please nominate Dr Ignazio Maria Viola as Supervisor when prompted.
• Please quote the project title as well as ’CDT WAMSS’ when asked for your Project Proposal.
• Closing date is 31st January 2020 or until position filled.

To Apply:

Funding Notes

Tuition fee and stipend is available to UK and EU students.
Full scholarship is available to international students.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in General Engineering?
(joint submission with Heriot-Watt University)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 91.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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