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PhD Studentship: Increasing the Energy Efficiency of Straddle Carriers in Port

Manchester Metropolitan University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 3rd July 2018
Closes: 3rd September 2018
Reference: SciEng-WH-2018-1


Increasing the energy efficiency and reducing the emissions of container cranes in Port. This work will be novel as no systematic study has ever been made of the options for increasing efficiency of cranes nor how the use of intelligent energy storage could be used to reduce the demand in both peak power and energy.

Aims and objectives

Transport needs to become more efficient and reduce its impact on the environment. Within the Susports project (funded by Climate EU/KIC), a comprehensive study has been undertaken of rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (RTG) which are used to load or unload containers from terminal tugs and stack containers in rows prior to despatching containers by road or rail. Detailed analysis and measurements have been made to identify options for increasing RTG efficiency. These include switching from diesel to electric operation and recovering energy for reuse.

The study would be undertaken together with a major port operator Leading Port Operator, a designer and manufacturer of novel intelligent energy storage systems. The drive-line of the straddle carrier (Crane) would be modelled using Matlab and validated by measurements on a straddle carrier. The options to be studied include recovering the inertial energy when a container is lowered or when the straddle carrier is regenerative braked and storing this energy for use when the next container is raised or the vehicle accelerated from rest.

Following measurement and modelling, the intention would be to validate the model’s predictions by demonstrating the savings potential on a straddle carrier and to refine the control algorithms.

Leading Port Operator will provide the equipment’s and resources such as energy storage and metering implementation with the installation of a storage on a carrier to evaluate the proof of concept.

The work has potential for significant impact on the scientific development of nonlinear control methods, and in their application. The approach to nonlinear control design and application to energy harvesting is novel for straddle carrier, and is motivated by the structure of important problems arising in the real world.

The potential applicants will have:

  • Bachelors (at least 2.1 or equivalent) or Masters Degree with Control Engineering, Electronics, Embedded Systems, Control Theory, Computing and Mathematics as major subjects.
  • Experience in real time control systems, programming in C and or C++, systems engineering is highly desirable
  • Experience in modelling, control and programming in Matlab/Simulink environment is highly desirable.

It is important to be able write publications and to present your research work to audiences from specialists to the general public.

Student eligibility

Due to funding availability, the studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only


Informal enquiries can be made to: Professor William Holderbaum

How to Apply

Please follow this link to apply:

Apply online

Please quote the reference: SciEng-WH-2018-1

Interviews: Late August/ Early September 2018

Start date: October 2018

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