A hybrid physical modelling system for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022 or 1 January 2023


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Civil Engineering (and select the entry point of October 2022 or January 2023), then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

Director of Studies: Dr Martyn Hann
2nd Supervisor: Professor Deborah Greaves  
3rd Supervisor: Dr Edward Ransley
4th Supervisor: Dr Matthew Craven
5th Supervisor: Dr David Walker
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022 or 1 January 2023.
Project description
Development of offshore renewable energy is a key part of the Government’s Net Zero and Energy Security strategies with ambitious targets of 50GW offshore wind by 2030, including 5GW floating offshore wind (FOW), and 100- 140GW by 2050. However, the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) of floating offshore wind is still high compared with fixed foundation offshore wind. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) are exposed to harsh and complex conditions in the marine environment and it is important that at the design stage, potential extreme environmental loads on FOWTs under storms, are clearly identified and quantified.
Physical model testing of FOWTs in facilities such as the University of Plymouth (UoP) COAST laboratory are an important part of the design process. However, there is a scaling mismatch between scaling important for hydrodynamic modelling of the floating platform (Froude scaling) and aerodynamic modelling of the wind turbine (Reynolds scaling). To overcome this mismatch, one technique is the hybrid modelling ‘software-in-the-loop’ (SiL) approach, whereby the floating structure is geometrically scaled by Froude scaling and the forces on the tower are also Froude-scaled and modelled by a thruster controlled in real-time. Another technique is to use blown wind experiments and to ensure Froude-scaled forces are correct on the turbine by distorting the blades.
This studentship will be part of a large multi-partner project on future floating wind turbine farms and will develop distorted blade designs, extend the SiL approach developed at UoP and compare results from blown wind tests to experiments using SiL. The studentship will investigate and quantify the influence of turbine control on turbine aerodynamics and platform dynamics and loading by integration and verification of control strategies into SiL and blown wind experiments.
Supported by an industry partner, the aim of this PhD studentship is to develop further the COAST Lab wave basin hybrid modelling system for FOWTs and to run a series of tests using software-in-the-loop (SiL) and blown wind approaches for validation of numerical models and assessment of the FOWT responses.
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant masters qualification.
Subject to final budget approval, the studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £16,062.00 per annum (2022/23 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover international fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,670 per annum).
NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.
If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Deborah Greaves
Please see a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 29 August 2022. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview shortly after the deadline. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.