Thermal performance datasets for energy piles using laboratory and field testing (Leeds Civil Engineering Doctoral Scholarship)

University of Leeds - School of Civil Engineering

  • Value: Funding covers the cost of fees and provides a maintenance matching the Research Council UK rate (£14,553 for 2017/18). UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.
  • Number of awards: Funding for this award is not guaranteed. This research project is in competition for EPSRC funding with other projects and will be awarded on a competitive basis.
  • Supervisors: Contact Dr Fleur Loveridge to discuss this project further informally. 
Project description

In the European Union and North America space heating and cooling represents approximately half of total energy consumption. If both energy use reduction and carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets are to be met, then the space heating problem must be addressed. Energy piles are an innovative way to access thermal energy storage beneath and adjacent to buildings. They allow the foundations to buildings and other structures to act as ground heat exchangers. When ground heat exchangers are connected to heat pump systems for inter-seasonal heat storage they offer the potential for energy savings of in excess of 75%. However, despite recent construction of energy piles, there remains an absence of validated design methods. This is in part due to the lack of suitable data for validation of analytical and other methods for use in the design process.

This project will focus on the collection and interpretation of thermal performance data for energy piles, permitting validation of promising design approaches. Collection of data will involve design, construction and implementation of large scale laboratory heat transfer tests. The experiments will consider different arrangements of heat transfer pipes as these will influence short term storage of thermal energy within the pile. The results from the experiments will be used to both consider the energy efficiency of the tested scenarios as well as validate numerical simulation approaches. Using both the laboratory test results and additional pre-existing field data, the project will then explore different analytical methods for energy pile thermal design by comparing the outputs from the field and laboratory data to both analytical and numerical simulation results.

Entry requirements

A degree equivalent to a UK upper second class honours (2:1), or higher, in engineering, physical or environmental sciences, or mathematics and with strong numerical capabilities.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the 'Thermal performance datasets for energy piles using laboratory and field testing (Leeds Civil Engineering Doctoral Scholarship)’ as well as Dr Fleur Loveridge as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office
e:, t: +44 (0)113 343 8000.

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