Numerical and wind tunnel modelling of 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 Mechanical 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

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For more information on the admissions process please contact

Director of Studies: Dr Richard Pemberton
2nd Supervisor: Professor Deborah Greaves
3rd Supervisor: Dr Scott Brown
5th Supervisor: Mr Adam Kyte
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.
In existing design and analysis procedures for floating offshore wind, calculations for the aerodynamics of the turbine, the hydrodynamics of the floater and mooring system, and stress analysis of the structure are often carried out separately, using software tools of varying fidelity, potentially leading to inconsistency between results and inefficiencies in the design process. The successful candidate will join a team of researchers developing a high-fidelity coupled hydro-aero-structural numerical tool for FOWT, with coupled interfaces between solvers to include full physics and efficient parallel implementation. Small and large-scale experiments on single and multiple actuated wind turbines will be carried out to develop a physical database of flow and mechanical characteristics. The large-scale experiments will provide high resolution measurements of flow fields and smaller scale experiments, using new facilities planned for the new engineering building on University of Plymouth campus will allow for a wider exploration of the parameter space across layout and flow-direction with a focus on turbine level loads and wakes across arrays of 2 or 3 turbines. Blade resolved numerical turbine models for reference turbines will be developed using open source CFD code and predictions of wake recovery and turbine loads compared with simplified models, such as actuator disc and actuator line. Numerical model results will be validated using the experiment data.
Supported by an industry partner, the aim of this PhD studentship is to develop and validate using small and large scale wind tunnel experiments high and mid-fidelity numerical tools for investigating multi turbine interaction with the aim of using them to improve wake models for floating offshore wind farms.
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
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.