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Photovoltaic based Energy Harvesting System for Smart Buildings

About This PhD Project

Project Description


Energy harvesting for low power consumption sensors is becoming an increasingly important topic. This is due to the ever-higher number of devices connected to the Internet and the proliferation of wireless sensors and embedded systems found in indoor environments for a variety of applications. In addition, the increasing popularity of smart buildings and the desire to have flexible deployment of devices without the need for wires mean that having a reliable source of energy to power them is becoming increasingly important.

From the various energy harvesting options, light energy harvesting is particularly attractive due to the recent reduction in costs of solar PV cells and the pervasive nature of various sources of illumination. However, the low energy yield from light energy harvesting devices poses an important challenge when optimizing the design of a wireless system.


The aim of this project is to design and develop a novel energy harvesting system based on solar photovoltaic cells. The PhD student will take into account the optimum position of such a system depending on the illumination conditions of a particular indoor environment. In addition, due attention will be given to the selection of the PV technology depending on the spectral emission of various sources of light. The PhD student will also investigate the suitability of optical concentrators to increase illuminance at the cell, increase energy yield and reduce the cost of the system. It is expected that the candidate will have to use mathematical modelling and software tools as appropriate, as well as conducting experimental work to test a hardware prototype of the system.

Candidate specifications

The successful applicant will hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent) on Electrical and/or Electronic Engineering (2:1 or above) or a suitable Masters degree. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. The following experience and knowledge is also desirable:
• Strong mathematical skills
• Knowledge of PV technologies
• Experience with batteries and charging systems
• Programming and software simulation skills
• Practical skills with building and testing electronic circuits
• Strong communication skills

Research Strategy and Research Profile

This research project addresses some of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. These include: Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Affordable and Clean Energy.

This project is part of the research activity of two research groups, the Power and Renewable Energy Systems and the Smart Connectivity and Sensing groups.

How to Apply

Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please also attach to the online application, copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to: Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on How to apply and the online application form please go to

George Loumakis

Related Subjects

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