Postdoctoral Researcher Flow Control in Hydrokinetic Turbines

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 08 Jan 2024

Hydrokinetic turbine blades under unsteady wave loading: Physics and bio-inspired flow control

Harvesting energy from water streams, such as tides, could decisively contribute to achieving climate neutrality. Water streams offer a higher energy density compared to the wind, while being more predictable than other sources of renewable energy. Installing hydrokinetic turbines in the upper water column, close to the free surface, instead of on the sea bed, simplifies maintenance by increasing accessibility, while also enabling a greater potential energy harvest, as flow velocities in the upper water column are typically higher. However, this alternative configuration raises the challenge of unsteady hydrodynamic forcing of the turbine blades due to wave-induced orbital flow velocities. This forcing varies in magnitude with depth from the free surface, and includes both vertical and horizontal velocity components separated by a phase shift. This represents a unique and complex loading condition which has not previously been studied.

Due to the deleterious impact of unsteady loading on turbine performance and maintenance demands, it is of interest to investigate approaches to control the flow around the blades, with the aim of effectively harnessing high force peaks for energy production while mitigating the abrupt force fluctuations associated with stall. Therefore, in addition to characterising the forced flow around a turbine blade this project will consider the performance of leading edge geometry modification, including for example bio-inspired spanwise undulations or “tubercles”, as a route to passive flow control.

The project is experimental in nature, primarily utilising the towing tank at the department of Maritime and Transport Technology. The faculty provides good support for varied experiments, including via a new robotic unsteady flows facility at the department of Energy and Process Technology. Specifically, the core of the project is to design and construct a model hydrokinetic turbine, and test it under varying flow conditions including steady free-stream, and wave forcing conditions with varying amplitude and frequency and phase relationship to the turbine. You will measure the fluctuating forces on the turbine model directly and characterise the flow using a stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) set-up mounted in a pre-existing torpedo system.

We are looking for a candidate with a PhD degree in Fluid Mechanics, Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering, Maritime Technology, or a closely related field. The candidate is expected to perform experimental fluid mechanical research with application in offshore hydrokinetic energy technologies.

A contract will be offered for a 1.5-year period of employment. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

From chip to ship. From machine to human being. From idea to solution. Driven by a deep-rooted desire to understand our environment and discover its underlying mechanisms, research and education at the 3mE faculty focusses on fundamental understanding, design, production including application and product improvement, materials, processes and (mechanical) systems.

3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with high-tech lab facilities and international reach. It’s a large faculty but also versatile, so we can often make unique connections by combining different disciplines. This is reflected in 3mE’s outstanding, state-of-the-art education, which trains students to become responsible and socially engaged engineers and scientists. We translate our knowledge and insights into solutions to societal issues, contributing to a sustainable society and to the development of prosperity and well-being. That is what unites us in pioneering research, inspiring education and (inter)national cooperation.

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For other questions about the position, please feel free to contact Abel-John Buchner ([email protected]), Daniele Fiscaletti ([email protected]), Gunnar Jacobi ([email protected] ). 

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 1 December 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

For information about the application procedure, please contact ms. Anita van Vianen, HR Advisor, via: [email protected] .    

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