Fully Funded PhD Studentship: Design and Optimization of Gearless Generators for Tidal Application

Swansea University - Electrical Engineering

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship in Electrical Engineering, jointly funded by the Université Grenoble Alpes and Swansea University. 

The generation of renewable electricity from tidal currents is a rapidly growing industrial sector with ‎potential for Giga Watts of generation worldwide. This is recognised by Welsh Government strategy ‎and through the Blue Growth initiative of the EU.‎

Tidal generators operate in aggressive, inaccessible environments and they require state-of-the-art ‎technologies to ensure that they can enjoy many years of trouble free running with minimal ‎maintenance. However, since the tidal flows have a relatively low speed, tidal generators utilise ‎gearboxes in order to transmit the power from the low speed, high torque side (i.e. the turbine) to ‎the high speed, low torque side (i.e. the generator). Gearboxes increase mechanical losses and torque ‎ripples. They also require maintenance which increases the running cost as well. A magnetic gear ‎topology gives technical advantages and is hugely beneficial in reducing the operational and ‎maintenance costs of marine energy, making it an economically competitive source of electricity.‎

Therefore, we will focus on the design and optimization of a Tidal Generator System, composed of a ‎turbine, a magnetic gear, a generator and the associated power electronics and control for grid ‎connection.‎

Objective: ‎

The main objectives of the projects are as follows:‎

  • Proposing appropriate topologies for gearless generators
  • Combining Magnetic Gears with generator, which seems to be a promising topology ‎
  • Developing the mathematical model of all system components
  • Turbine
  • Magnetic gear
  • Generator
  • Power Electronics
  • Developing the computer model (e.g. Matlab-Simulink) of the proposed topologies

These models will be implemented in a design environment which will allow the system ‎optimization of the Tidal Generator System, accounting for all constraints on the components, ‎but also those imposed by the grid connection. Several objective functions will be investigated ‎and the different optimal designs compared.‎

Designing appropriate control schemes for the proposed generator topologies in:‎

  • Grid connection application
  • Islanded applications
  • Micro-grid applications
  • Verifying the proposed design and control paradigms using real time power systems emulator

The PhD will be shared between Swansea University and University Grenoble Alpes. The PhD student will share his/her time between both locations. The initial time sharing scheme is: first year at Grenoble, second year at Swansea, 6 months at each university in the final year. However, this schedule may be subject to change as the project progresses. The successful candidate is expected to begin their studentship in January 2017.

Academic Requirements:

Applicants should have a MEng or MSc in Electrical Engineering, Power Systems, Power Electronics or Electrical Machines.

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