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  Innovating Interdisciplinary Airborne Wind Energy through Rigorous Wind Tunnel Testing and Collaborative Design


   Offshore Wind CDT

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  Dr Majid Bastankhah, Dr Grant Ingram, Dr Farshad Arvin, Dr Fatemeh Rekabi-Bana  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This Research Project is part of the EPSRC CDT in Offshore Wind Sustainability and Resilience's Hybrid Offshore Wind Energy Solutions Cluster.

The CDT is a partnership between Hull, Durham, Loughborough and Sheffield universities, along with over 40 industry partners. We will welcome over 65 funded doctoral researchers between 2024 and 2028. Join us to tackle some of the biggest research challenges, in a supportive environment where you can grow your own career while you help grow the offshore wind industry.

The pursuit of clean and sustainable energy solutions has led to the exploration of innovative methods for harnessing wind energy. One such innovation is the development of Airborne Wind Turbines (AWTs), a cutting-edge alternative to the conventional horizontal axis three-bladed turbines. AWTs offer the promise of tapping into the abundant wind resources available at higher altitudes, where winds are stronger and more consistent. In particular, AWTs offer important benefits when used on offshore floating platforms. AWTs can be deployed on floating platforms, which offer mobility and scalability advantages. These systems can be easily moved to different locations to capture the best wind conditions and can be deployed in deeper waters, opening up new offshore areas for wind energy generation.

AWTs employ a diverse array of technologies and designs, ranging from tethered gliders and kite-based systems to rotary wing configurations. This diversity has given rise to a landscape where multiple AWT technologies are vying for prominence, with no clear consensus on which approach is superior. Traditionally, the wind energy sector has been dominated by the well-established horizontal axis three-bladed turbine design. However, the limitations of these conventional turbines, including land-use constraints, intermittency issues, and the associated visual and environmental impacts, have prompted the exploration of alternative solutions. AWTs have emerged as a disruptive force, offering the potential to overcome many of these limitations and provide a pathway to more efficient, compact, and versatile wind energy generation.

One remarkable aspect of AWTs is their versatility in design and configuration. Unlike the standardised form of conventional turbines, AWT technologies encompass a spectrum of concepts, each with its unique advantages and challenges. Some AWT designs utilise tethered gliders that capture wind energy through a controlled flight path, while others employ kite-based systems that exploit the dynamic motion of a flying kite. Rotary wing configurations, resembling the familiar helicopter design, are also being explored as potential AWT solutions. These diverse technologies offer varying degrees of scalability, adaptability to different wind regimes, and potential for higher altitudes, where wind resources are more abundant.

Crucially, the multiplicity of AWT designs has sparked a dynamic and interdisciplinary research landscape, attracting the attention of researchers, engineers, and innovators from a wide array of fields. This pursuit of diverse AWT technologies has led to exciting advancements, ranging from novel materials and aerodynamic concepts to intricate control and optimisation strategies. However, as AWT technologies continue to evolve, there remains a critical gap in our understanding: the lack of a definitive consensus on which technology is superior. This research proposal seeks to address this gap by embracing the diversity within AWT technologies. Through a structured approach encompassing design, testing, and optimisation, we aim to shed light on the performance, stability, and interactions of various AWT technologies. By advancing our comprehension of these cutting-edge solutions, we strive to provide insights that will inform future AWT development, enabling us to harness wind energy more efficiently, sustainably, and effectively in a rapidly changing energy landscape.

Training & Skills

You will have the opportunity to attend a wide range of post-graduate level modules, and will develop a wide range of skills including wind tunnel experiment training.

You will benefit from a taught programme, giving you a broad understanding of the breadth and depth of current and emerging offshore wind sector needs. This begins with an intensive six-month programme for the new student intake, drawing on the expertise and facilities of all four academic partners. It is supplemented by Continuing Professional Development (CPD), which is embedded throughout your 4-year research scholarship.

Entry Requirements

If you have received or expect to achieve before starting your PhD programme a First-class Honours degree, or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters, or a Distinction at Masters level a degree (or the international equivalents) in engineering, we would like to hear from you.

If your first language is not English, or you require a Student Visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill. Please contact [Email Address Removed] for further guidance or questions.

Apply now

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The Offshore Wind CDT is funded by EPSRC, allowing us to provide scholarships for Home students that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £19,237 per annum at 2024/25 rates (subject to progress). In addition, a number of scholarships will be made available for International students.

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