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Improving the aerodynamic performance of offshore wind turbines.


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Fully-Funded Doctoral Studentship in improving the aerodynamic performance of offshore wind turbines.

Supervisors: Prof Simon Hogg & Dr Grant Ingram

Durham University is seeking applications for a PhD studentship as part of our EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships project (EP/R004900/1). This £7.6M project is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Durham and Hull and the two leading industrial companies in offshore wind energy, Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy). The successful applicants will be working with researchers across the three academic partner institutions and alongside industrial experts from Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted. They will also have close links to the Durham Energy Institute (www.dur.ac.uk/dei) and be able to access training through the University’s Researcher Development Programme

Project Title


Improving the aerodynamic performance of offshore wind turbines.

Project Description


Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa are interested in developing improved numerical techniques for predicting the impact of erosion damage and their repair solutions, on the aerodynamic performance of offshore wind turbines. This PhD study will contribute to the work that they are undertaking to address this development need. The first step in the project will be to perform wind tunnel tests at the University on idealised geometries with different surface roughness that are representative of blade erosion, in order to generate a body of test data for method validation purposes. Commercially available CFD and Solid Mechanics tools will be used to develop a numerical method for predicting the impact of the erosion damage on aerodynamic performance. This method will be validated using the wind tunnel test data. This validated methodology will be a major output from the project. The latter part of the study will involve applying the new method to assess the impact of blade erosion damage and the repair methods used on the performance of an in-service offshore wind turbine, using data on the blade surface degradation over time measured during the service life of this machine.

Assessment Criteria


Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria. Candidates should contact the relevant member of academic staff to discuss project-specific requirements:
• At least an upper second class honours degree in engineering, physics or the mathematical sciences.
• Strong understanding of engineering applications and problem solving.
• Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:
• Knowledge of offshore wind energy systems, relevant to the particular project.
• Knowledge of the fundamentals of low speed aerodynamics.
• Expertise in numerical modelling (using either off-the-shelf commercial codes or in-house methods).
• Expertise in running experiments.

Funding and Application Process


• The Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in Science, Engineering and Technology.
• Decisions will be made on applicants as they are received.
• The academic supervisors, Professor Simon Hogg () or Dr Grant Ingram (), are available for informal discussions with any interested candidates who would like further details before submitting an application.
• To apply formally for this studentship, applicants should submit an application using the online system found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/postgraduate/study/apply/
• The UK/EU studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years with a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate (which for 2018/19 is £14,777).

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