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Energy recovery for commercial aircraft PhD

School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM)

About the Project


An exciting PhD position sponsored by EPSRC and Airbus in Energy recovery for commercial aircraft is available. The position is fully funded and covers all fees and stipend. This project will investigate advanced technologies in the field of kinetic energy recovery for the landing phase of the flight-cycle. Concepts for energy recovery systems will be developed within the project, together with risks analysis and studies of the long-term impact on other aircraft components and airports. The position also provides a rich opportunity to present the research results in international conferences and to work across various research groups within the University.


This project will investigate advanced technologies in the field of kinetic energy recovery and identify possible solutions for the aviation sector. A short-range aircraft can be used by some airlines up to 13 legs a day. Hence, during its mission, the aircraft spends a significant proportion of its time taxiing, climbing, or descending rather than cruising. During landing a large amount of kinetic energy is dissipated by the brakes and released as heat energy. This creates an opportunity to recover and store this energy so that it can be used during taxiing or for other functions.

The subject requires a multidisciplinary approach starting from first principles to build the technology to recover such a large amount of energy in a short time (high power). The project will consist of fundamental research on energy recovery and storage, as well as blue sky solutions in terms of control engineering. The reduction of brake wear in the context of resources efficiency is also a key objective. This research in the aforementioned key areas will aim at achieving or maintaining UK technology leader status in the field.

Cranfield University excels in strategic and applied research. In the latest 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 81% of our research was considered ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in its quality. Cranfield is a ‘Top 5’ research institute, based on commercial income and it is the only Post Graduate exclusive University of the UK.

Airbus is a global aircraft manufacturing company with roots in Europe, which includes in its portfolio a modern and comprehensive family of civil airliners. Airbus has a well-established track record in industrial research and technology development in the aerospace sector. Technological progress through research and innovation allows the company to contribute to civil aviation’s commitments to more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly operations.

About the Sponsor

Sponsored by EPSRC and Airbus, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £60,036 (tax-free) plus fees* for four years and is open to UK/EU students only.

Funding Notes

Due to the nature of the funding, it is expected that the successful applicant will be a UK national or EU national who has resided in the UK for three years prior to the start date of the studentship. Due to funding restrictions, all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.

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