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  3. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher PhD position: Multi-scale numerical modelling of floating offshore wind turbines

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher PhD position: Multi-scale numerical modelling of floating offshore wind turbines

STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network initiative. The …

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Kluyverweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network initiative. The main objective is to address both technological and economical challenges related to the development of large floating offshore wind farms. Floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) could be a game changer to further decrease the cost of offshore wind energy and unlock new markets. Wind turbines placed on a floating support and moored to the seabed can harness energy in areas with much higher wind speeds, at a reduced installation cost. It also gives the opportunity to countries with deep water to enter the offshore wind industry. The project runs over 4 years and will deliver 10 PhD degrees, in joint supervision and training between the public and private sectors. The early-stage researchers (ESRs) will be part of a network supervised by 3 universities with a track-record in wind energy research and 5 companies leading the deployment of floating wind farms and heavily involved in policy-making bodies. A training programme and a mentoring scheme will equip the ESRs with key skills for their future career. Scientifically, STEP4WIND will develop floating-specific tools, methods and infrastructures to tackle the technological and economical challenges of FOWTs, from design to deployment, operation and scaling up. It will also deliver guidelines for large farm deployments, with a clear roadmap to commercialization.
Further information on the Innovation Training Network Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Novel design, production and operation approaches for floating wind farms (STEP4WIND) at www.step4wind.eu.

Abstract of research project
The work will analyse the effect of hydrodynamic nonlinearities on the motion and loading of floating offshore wind turbines using high-fidelity CFD methods and multi-scale modelling techniques. The IEA Task 30 recently showed that, for semi-submersible floaters like those used by PPF, there is a persistent under-prediction of the motion and structural loads in the system across all load cases, including for wave-only and combined wind-wave conditions. In order to explain this, the low-frequency response behaviour of the floater needs to be further investigated. This work aims at using high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to better understand the hydrodynamic loading components. A key challenge is the large computational cost associated with running wave-structure interaction problems, especially under irregular wave conditions. Here, a goal-based mesh adaptivity technique will be used in order to dynamically refine the mesh in regions of interest and coarsen it elsewhere. Such methods have proven to be both computationally efficient and accurate for multi-scale modelling in offshore environments. In Year 1, wave-structure interactions will be modelled using both regular and irregular waves for a fixed structure, to find a computationally efficient simulation set-up with mesh adaptivity. The IEA Task 30 will serve as benchmark. In Year 2, the method will be extended to PPF’s semi-submersible floater. Insights will be gained from both wave tank testing and full-scale deployments. In Year 3, new knowledge will be generated on the non-linear loading of the floater in irregular waves. The ESR will learn from PPF’s analysis of the design load cases from lower-fidelity engineering tools to see which wave load cases are more pertinent to study with CFD. This will eventually help improving integrated design models for FOWTs and farms, through better inputs and modelling assumptions. Finally, Year 4 will be dedicated to finishing the PhD thesis.

Expected results
The principal outputs of this doctoral activity are described as follows:
A multi-scale, adaptive-mesh open-source CFD model to simulate nonlinear wave-structure interactions, an analysis of the role of nonlinear flow phenomena on the motion and loading of FOWTs, and recommendations about which irregular wave fields should be simulated for the design of semi-submersibles.


Eligibility criteria
Candidates should have a MSc Degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic-level equivalent to a Master of Science (5 years minimum duration Bachelor + Master).

The successful candidate is required to have:
• Documented background in CFD modelling
• Documented background in aerodynamics of hydrodynamic analysis, preferably for wind turbines
• Documented background in data analysis and programming (e.g. Matlab, Python, Fortran, C)
• Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
• Practical skills are strongly preferred
• Fluency in communicating and reporting in English

In addition, the successful candidate should satisfy at the time of the recruitment the following mandatory characteristics:
• having not more than 4 years of equivalent research experience (i.e. working as researcher after obtaining your master’s degree);
• having not been awarded a title of PhD;
• having not resided or carried out her/his main activity in France for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

The enrolment is subject to academic approval and fulfilment of the requirements for admission to a doctoral program at TU Delft. The present PhD project will take advantage of collaboration with researchers at TU Delft and Principle Power.


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff, and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related, and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Salary and appointment terms
The selected candidate will be appointed on a temporary contract for 48 months, to be renewed annually. A contract of 18 months will be provided by Principle Power France. During that time, the PhD candidate will spend 9 months at Principle Power France and 9 months at Principle Power Portugal. The rest of the time, the contract will be provided by TU Delft where the PhD candidate will be hosted. A 2-month secondment will be spent at the Maritime Research Institute (MARIN) in the Netherlands. The salary will be in line with the funding schemes of MSCA action, in accordance respectively with French and Dutch rules and regulations within this regard, and Country specific requirements, as stated in the Grant Agreement and Guide for Applicants.

Monthly salary in France and Portugal (living allowance + mobility allowance) will be of 3.783,39 € + 600 € (gross amount), allocated following French specific contract conditions for MSCA candidates.
The monthly salary in The Netherlands will be in line with the CLA of the Dutch Universities. Additional payments will be made in accordance with the specific contract conditions for MSCA candidates.
Family allowance accounts for 500 €/month (gross amount), regardless of the Country issuing the working contract, and will be granted only upon specific conditions.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Axelle Viré, e-mail: A.C.Vire@tudelft.nl.

A Skype interview will be setup with the selected candidates to:
• Discuss about their CV, skills and experiences;
• Assess their communication skills in English and motivation;
• Discuss about the research/organizational topics.

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.
All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The assessment of the applicants will be made jointly by Axelle Viré, Assistant Professor in Wind Energy at TU Delft, and Sam Kanner, R&D Lead at Principle Power. More people from both TU Delft, Principle Power or MARIN might join the evaluation committee in due course.

Applications must be submitted via email no later than 31 May 2020, 23:59 (Dutch time) as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. The file name of the PDF document will contain your first and last name.
To apply, send an e-mail to Ms. Sylvia Willems (S.M.Willems@tudelft.nl) and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number LR20.19. The file must include:
• A letter motivating the application (cover letter);
• Curriculum vitae with publications (if any);
• Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma.
• Research statement: through the research statement, the applicants have the chance to present a research problem that interests them and propose how it might be investigated. The research problem should be preferably related to the topic of the advertised PhD position.

During the 4 years of employment, the workplace will be Principle Power France for a period of 9 months, Principle Power Portugal for a period of 9 months, TU Delft for a period of 28 months. A secondment period of 2 months will be held at MARIN in The Netherlands.


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