The Centre for Offshore Technology, part of the University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a PhD studentship to commence in September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,285 for 4 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
This PhD at the University of Exeter is sponsored by EDF Energy which is at the forefront of the drive towards low carbon electricity generation. This PhD seeks to address the offshore wind industry’s need of greater levels of automation by applying novel methods of integrating multiple autonomous systems to the operation of existing wind farms and planning for the needs of future offshore wind farms A PhD candidate is sought to develop tools to use and coordinate autonomous surface vessels, unmanned subsea vessels, and unmanned aerial drones for offshore wind farms. Working closely with operational teams, the research will include field testing at active wind farms, including the Blyth Offshore Wind Demonstrator site. The tools, strategies, and proof of concept sea trials developed as part of this PhD will aid not only wind farm operators, such as the industrial sponsor, but will help guide the work of manufacturers of autonomous systems to ensure that their systems can address the challenges faced in this industry as well as standard and certification bodies.
The aim is to identify, develop and validate innovative solutions to reduce costs and risks to existing and future offshore wind assets. The project would suit someone who is highly motivated to be involved in the application and development of autonomous and remote systems backed up by sound engineering knowledge and a strong background in computing and mathematics. A degree in one or more of the following engineering disciplines would be advantageous: mechanical, aeronautical, electrical, civil, computer or navel/offshore. However, candidates across the marine sciences, maths, computing or physical sciences will also be considered.
The project will take advantage of facilities within the Centre for Offshore Technology, including high-performance computing, offshore test facilities, offshore measurement technology, and research vessel. Furthermore, field trials at Blyth offshore wind farm are anticipated in partnership with the industrial sponsor EDF Energy. As such, the project will include fieldwork including testing of remote/autonomous systems.
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 4 years of full-time study to commence as soon as possible with up to a six month secondment to EDF Energy’s offices supplemented by training to support personal development.