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NexSys PhD Fellowships at the School of Engineering NUI Galway


   School of Engineering

   Thursday, June 30, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

About the research:

The transition to a net zero carbon energy system is one of the major challenges facing the world. Next Generation Energy Systems (NexSys) is a unique project funded by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Strategic Partnership Programme with Irish industry, seeking to address fundamental questions in Energy Systems, Water, Transport, Offshore Wind and Cities and Communities.

New water and wastewater infrastructure needed as part of climate change mitigation is generally very energy intensive. The NexSys Water Strand aims to enable water utilities to adapt to meet the challenges of net zero carbon energy systems; to enhance the resilience of the water sector to climate-driven hazards and events; to investigate technology gaps for the water-energy interface; and to develop new solutions at building and industry scale to optimise water management in the context of a move to Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0.

The researchers will join a highly dynamic, international research cluster performing leading edge research on sustainable infrastructure, water and wastewater engineering and infrastructure modelling. The research team, at Civil Engineering in NUI Galway the Ryan Institute of Environment, Marine and Energy, has strong connections with leading industry and academic institutions across Europe and around the world and performs research in areas that include:

  1. Water supply, water and wastewater treatment
  2. Energy systems engineering
  3. Systems integration and optimisation
  4. Development of novel, sustainable environmental technologies
  5. Environmental life cycle assessment

 Two PhD researchers are sought and will be part of a wider team of researchers working in the NUI Galway NexSys team and will be in collaboration with international industry leader Dr Sean Mulligan from NUI Galway Spinout, VorTech Water Solutions, as well as international experts in air-water flows and reaeration Drs Matthias Kramer and Stefan Felder from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. The PhD researchers will benefit from the expertise of the supervisor team and may also benefit from an opportunity for a research stay in Australia.

Project description:

Water flow aeration or air entrainment is critical in many natural and industrial systems. For example, aeration plays a fundamental role in rivers for maintaining healthy oxygen levels, while oxygen transfer resulting from air entrainment is essential in biological wastewater treatment.

There still remain significant knowledge gaps regarding artificial aeration processes, which could lead to substantial improvements in energy efficiency in wastewater treatment, aquaculture and other industry processes. Using state-of-the-art high-resolution phase-detection probes, researchers can measure and quantify air entrainment properties, including bubble sizes, frequencies, dispersed phase velocity fields and turbulence levels. A direct application of this detailed information is the ability to accurately measure the oxygen transfer coefficient by quantifying the interfacial area of the multiphase air-water flow, thereby enabling improvements within aeration systems. Such work is also crucial to addressing the need to develop validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models for application to the wastewater sector. Examples include modelling of air/water interactions, air/particle and water interactions, choice of turbulence model, modelling unsteady flows, coupling of CFD and particle based models to enable bubble/particle size distributions to be modelled and the interactions between CFD models and biological wastewater models.

Furthermore, understanding aeration mechanisms resulting from plunging and annular jets flows can better inform designs related to energy dissipation in hydropower plants and in deep sewer conveyance systems (e.g., dropshafts). The latter become increasingly important in supporting modelling and design of civil engineering infrastructure to deal with the impacts of industrial development and climate change (e.g., dealing with storm water or large wastewater flows).

The PhD researchers will work closely together to deliver impactful results from both experimental and computational analyses. NUIG/NexSys-PhD 1 will focus on the design and development of scaled experiments to investigate air entrainment. NUIG/NexSys-PhD 2 will focus on leveraging experimental results for the development of validated computation fluids dynamics models.

Eligibility Requirements:

Applicants from a variety of engineering backgrounds be considered for this position. Key criteria are as follows:

1.    A minimum 2:1 honours bachelor’s degree (Level 8 honours degree or higher) in civil, chemical or mechanical engineering or a related discipline

2.    Applicants should have a strong interest and background in hydraulics and fluids mechanics engineering

3.    A strong aptitude for both experimental and numerical modelling work

4.    Excellent skills in data analytics and statistical analysis

5.    It is essential that candidates can demonstrate strong communication and technical writing skills

6.    Aptitude for taking initiative and working independently

7.    Fluency in both written and spoken English is essential

 Informal inquiries:

The PhD researchers will be supervised by Dr. Eoghan Clifford (NUI Galway) - http://www.nuigalway.ie/engineering-informatics/civil-engineering/people/iris/eoghanclifford/

 and co-supervised by:

Dr Sean Mulligan (VorTech Water Solutions Ltd - https://vortechws.com/)

Dr Matthias Kramer - Dr Matthias Kramer | UNSW Research

Dr Stefan Felder (UNSW Sydney) www.research.unsw.edu.au/people/dr-stefan-felder

 English language requirements:

English language proficiency is essential. The requirements for engineering must be met and are available at this link https://www.nuigalway.ie/international-students/studyinireland/entryrequirements/.

How to apply:

1.    Applicants should send a maximum 1-page covering letter detailing why they believe they would be suitable for this particular position, and a maximum 3-page CV with a focus on research skills. Applicants are also encouraged to briefly highlight any previous research or industry projects that they carried out in the field of hydraulics or fluid mechanic in their letter, if available.

2.    Applicants should include the name, address, and e-mail address of three referees (references can also be appended to your CV if you wish). Applicants must indicate which PhD they are applying for. Applicants can also use one application to apply for both PhDs.

3.    Applications must be made in Word or PDF format only to: . Please include your first name and second name in all file names.

4.    Please put Ref. No. NUIG/NexSys-PhD in the e-mail subject line.


Funding Notes

The PhDs are fully funded including a stipend of €18,500/year for four years and funding for payment of tuition fees. The PhD students will also benefit from a travel/equipment budget as required. These fellowships are funded under Science Foundation Ireland Grant No. 21/SPP/3756 as part of the NexSys project

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