Numerical modelling of extreme hydrodynamic loads on offshore renewable energy concepts

Country: United Kingdom;

Deadline: 31.07.2015



DoS Prof Deborah Greaves (, tel.: 01752586122)
2nd Supervisor Dr Martyn Hann
3rd Supervisor Prof Gregorio Iglesias
Industry Supervisor: Dr Ed Mackay, DNV GL

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on October 1st 2015.

Project Description

The aim of this DNV GL sponsored PhD Studentship is to improve understanding of extreme loads for survivability of WECs and of the numerical tools available to design for survivability.

Unlike for fixed and semi-fixed offshore structures, the maximum load depends both on the environmental loading and the dynamic response of a WEC. Thus the concept of a design wave for a WEC is more complicated than a traditional offshore design and the load cases to be considered for reliability and survivability will depend on the dynamics of the device in question and its foundation.

Previous research has shown that for WECs undergoing extreme loading, wave steepness has a very limited effect on heave, but surge and pitch both increase as wave steepness increases, which has significant implications for mooring loads in random sea states. It is also found that motion history has a significant effect on WEC mooring loads. In this project, DNV GL’s WEC design tool WaveDyn will be coupled with the open source CFD code OpenFOAM and applied to test cases from experiment data previously collected at Plymouth University Ocean Basin and other published WEC data. This will enable the existing capabilities for modelling complex multi-body systems, with power-take off, control logic and mooring forces to be complemented by state of the art hydrodynamic models.

The student will be part of the COAST Engineering Research Group at PU and will spend time at the DNV GL offices in Bristol whilst working on coupling WaveDyn with OpenFOAM.

Funding Notes:

Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,057 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,800 per annum).


If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Deborah Greaves (email: However, formal applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

Please read the general information about applying for a research degree at Plymouth University: You can apply via the online application form - select the 'Apply' button to access the form.

Please mark it FAO Francesca Niedzielski and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Marine Science and Engineering.
For more information on the admissions process contact Francesca Niedzielski (email:

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 July 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview on 4 September 2015. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 30 September 2015 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.