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Floating Hydrokinetic Power Converter


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Wednesday, November 30, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Dr Gerald Muller and Dr Sergio Maldonado

Project description

Power generation from renewable energy sources is a prime concern for the technology development of the next decades. Tidal and river hydrokinetic power is a huge, but so far hardly tapped resource which has the additional advantage of being highly predictable.

In this project, you will develop a third generation Hydrokinetic Power Converter for application in tidal currents and rivers.

The generation of electricity from the power contained in fast flowing water currents still constitutes a challenge. Hydrokinetic Power Converters (HKPCs) must be efficient, cost-effective in terms of construction, operation and maintenance, and they must be able to deal with difficult environments. Flow-augmented floating waterwheels here have several advantages over turbines: they can be as efficient as turbines, all components are above water level and easily accessible, the construction is simple and therefore cost-effective and their impact on aquatic life forms is minimal since they are perceived as solid obstacles. Big Moon Power Inc, of Salt Lake City, Utah (www.bigmoonpower.com) has developed this technology already for application in very fast tidal currents of up to 5.5 m/s flow velocity.

The large majority of the world wide resource however lies in the velocity range from 1.5 to 2.5 m/s. Since the kinetic energy of water is a cubic function of the flow velocity, the energy density in these sites is considerably smaller. New technological developments are therefore necessary to be able to exploit this resource. The aim of this project is, to develop this technology.

In this project, you will start to introduce several novel features such as a diffuser or a multi-bladed wheel to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The technological development will be conducted predominantly through the development and application of theoretical models, and through physical model tests and experiments. It is expected that during the project, more potential improvements can be identified and investigated. A resource study will allow to quantify the potential in rivers and tidal currents world wide.

For this project we would like to employ a student with a Civil or Mechanical Engineering degree (BEng or MEng), who is passionate about renewable energy, who likes to combine theoretical with practical and experimental work, and who is a team player who can relate to academic and industrial partners.

The project runs in cooperation with, and is co-financed by BMP Inc.

Please check our WEEG website www.hydro.soton.ac.uk, and our laboratory facebook page www.facebook.com/hydraulicslaboratory 

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

 Closing date: applications should be received no later than 30 November 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £16,062 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Gerald Muller

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact:


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