About this project
The UK is committed to the use of offshore wind energy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The EPSRC-NERC Aura Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment will enable delivery of this target by developing environmental and engineering solutions to key offshore wind sector challenges; thereby supporting a sustainable energy supply. In partnership with Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult), a 4-year taught and research industry-sponsored Aura CDT PhD is offered. The PhD directly addresses sector needs to understand hydrodynamic loading and environmental impact of infrastructure.
Large areas of continental shelf seas, designated for future global offshore wind (OWF) development, comprise of waters where density varies with depth, i.e. are stratified, through thermal, saline or suspended sediment gradients. Unlike existing OWF, thermal density stratification is prevalent in areas identified for future windfarm development.
Flow past infrastructure creates constant hydrodynamic loads, which must be accounted for during OWF foundation design. However, whilst it is known that stratification of flow past infrastructure increases mixing, the impact of stratification on hydrodynamic loading of OWF foundations is not included in infrastructure design. Enhanced mixing of stratified waters at existing OWF have been directly observed to influence both sediment transport, evidenced by large turbid plumes in the wake behind monopiles, and cause far-field modification to oceanographic density stratification. The environmental impact of enhanced mixing on marine ecosystems is unknown.
New understanding of turbulent mixing in stratified flow past OWF is therefore needed to inform future structure design and quantify environmental impact, from single turbine to array scale. The successful candidate will develop computational fluid dynamics to model turbulent mixing, and imposed loads, from stratified flow past infrastructure; performance of different foundation designs will be tested. The numerical models will be validated using a state-of-the-art experimental facility which enable the dynamics of stratified flow past infrastructure to be physically resolved.
This project will address three key research questions:
- What role does density stratification have on hydrodynamic loading of offshore wind infrastructure?
- How does wind turbine infrastructure affect density stratification and sediment transport?
- Can the influence of offshore wind infrastructure on density stratification be mitigated against through novel foundation design?
These research questions will be addressed through a combination of experimental studies, using state-of-the-art optical tomography, and computational fluid dynamics.
The post is available from September 2020 as a full-time position. You will join Cohort 2 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD supported by ORE Catapult.
For more information visit www.auracdt.hull.ac.uk