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Dynamics and Control of Wave Energy Harvesting Devices

School of Engineering

About the Project

Energy from the waves is one of the sustainable sources of energy, when harvested efficiently and can play a key role in the energy mix. Wave Energy Converters (WEC) can play a substantial role in supplying electrical power to remote locations such as Oil & Gas platforms (especially during decommissioning phase) or small islands (such as Eigg and Canna on the West Coast of Scotland) and may also be economical. Numerous devices have been designed in the past, to convert the energy from the oscillatory motion of the waves to electrical energy. Energy extracted directly from the oscillatory motion of the wave is typically very low and therefore necessitates a bi-directional device. In contrast, conversion to rotational motion leads to higher velocity and subsequently higher energy take out. However, due to the randomness of wave, most rotational motion of energy harvesting devices would need to be initiated and maintained. This can be achieved using adequate control strategy. As examples, the Time Delayed Feedback control method has been used for the parametric [1] & wave-excited pendulum [2-3].

The aim of the project is to develop a robust control strategy potentially using energy take out of the Wave Energy Harvesting Device such as pendulum in order to optimise the energy take out from the system. The aim will be achieved through the development of model and statistical analysis of the system dynamics with and without the proposed controller. This study would have a wider application outside of Wave Energy Extraction and can be adapted to any random excited energy harvesting system such as powering downhole tools in drilling systems.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) the UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Mechanical//Civil/Applied Mathematics/Physics or closely related discipline. It is essential that the applicant has a Good understanding of “linear system dynamics and control” and basic knowledge of “nonlinear systems” along with proficiency in simulating system dynamics using MATLAB or Python

Knowledge of:
Engineering Mathematics especially ODEs and numerical methods.
Dynamics (Lumped mass modelling and analysis)
Programming in MATLAB or Python to solve ODEs and piece-wise linear systems.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr V Vaziri (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ()

It is possible to undertake this project by distance learning. Interested parties should contact Dr Vaziri to discuss this.

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Additional research costs of £1,000 per annum, may be required, to modify small-scale experimental rigs. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting View Website. THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT


[1] Vaziri, V., Najdecka, A. and Wiercigroch, M., 2014. Experimental control for initiating and maintaining rotation of parametric pendulum. The European Physical Journal Special Topics, 223(4), pp.795-812.
[2] Najdecka, A., Narayanan, S. and Wiercigroch, M., 2015. Rotary motion of the parametric and planar pendulum under stochastic wave excitation. International Journal of Non-Linear Mechanics, 71, pp.30-38.
[3] Vaziri Hamaneh, S.V., 2015. Dynamics and control of nonlinear engineering systems (Doctoral dissertation, University of Aberdeen).

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