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Innovative energy-harvesting technologies to promote active travel


   College of Science and Engineering

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  Dr Andrea Cammarano, Prof G Falcone, Prof C Gray  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Sustainable low-carbon energy solutions (SLES) are needed to achieve net zero, energy resilience, improved air quality and green job creation but no solution will be truly effective without a shift in users’ behaviour.

This project will investigate and test innovative, small-scale energy-harvesting technologies to promote active travel and show to the commuters the importance of their role in the sustainable transition. More specifically, it will develop, build and test:

a)     a prototype that harvests kinetic energy from the vibrations of the new Govan- Partick cyclist and pedestrian bridge (construction has begun in 2022). The dynamic load induced by pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge structure will be converted into electric power through a combination of electromagnetic and piezoelectric transducers. The system will feature devices placed on the cycle lane that will have the dual aim of harvesting energy and limiting cyclists’ speed. The power harvested could be used to monitor the dynamics of the bridge and its health over the time, reducing maintenance costs while improving safety of the structure.

b)    a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) to accumulate energy during cycling and reuse it as free energy to power or recharge small devices and sensors (e.g., mobiles phones, or the monitoring sensors) and/or reduce the effort of the cyclist. During the project, the system will be connected to the bikes of three volunteer users from amongst our PhDs and PDRAs, representing recreational/amateur/enthusiast riders’ profiles. For a selected number of identified cycling routes along active travel corridors, the total amount of energy harvested per route and the number of hours of corresponding usage will be recorded.

This PhD project encompasses a variety of topics from system dynamics and control, to embedded programming and machine learning: the candidate will be given the possibility, within reasonable boundaries, to tailor the project to their personal interest.

The successful candidate for this project will:

-       demonstrate skills in system dynamics and control , preferably (not essential) with application in energy conversion and power recovery;

-       have a good aptitude for design, modelling and testing;

-       use models and simulation techniques to identify efficient, sustainable, and affordable solutions that will be discussed with our Programme Partner Group.

The proposed devices will be able to harvest kinetic energy from pedestrians and cyclists, power sensors, monitor the state and the usage of the bridge, collect and store measurements, and present data in accessible ways. The data collected will be used to create dynamic models of the infrastructure and its usage, allowing for the optimisation of its maintenance, improving resilience and minimising disruption. Also, the data collected from the cyclists will help to map recommended cycling routes in neighbourhoods, with associated distance, duration, recoverable energy and its potential use.

We champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, believing that this is the way to increase research productivity and quality and to enhance societal and economic impact. Likewise, the University of Glasgow and our external partners are fully committed to EDI principles.

We support applications from under-represented backgrounds, childcare support for conference attendance, flexible working for carers and promote a work-life balance.

For enquires related to EDI, please address to GALLANT EDI Champion, Dr Caroline Gauchotte-Lindsay via the GALLANT-phd mailbox.

The topic and funding for this PhD are confirmed.

How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply: https://www.gla.ac.uk/gallant. For studentship enquiries, please contact [Email Address Removed].

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