Vacancy Notice 158/2021

PhD position

Project Summary:
The OPTIDE project aims to explore the effect of variable pitch blades on vertical axis or also called cross-flow tidal turbines (CFTT). At turbine scale, it is of high interest to consider a systematic optimization of the pitch motion law with the deployment of a dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) based optimizer. Here, the increase in the turbine hydrodynamic efficiency as well as the energy costs for the pitch actuation should be taken into account. Also, it becomes necessary to understand the effect of variable pitch on the wake of the turbine considering tidal farm applications. Therefore, the aim is to optimize the pitch motion laws with regard to the efficiency of a single turbine and the power density of the farm.

The PhD position aims at learning about these points through experiments and numerical simulations. Experiments (flume tank tests at Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics and Technical Flows (LSS), Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, subsequently called OvGU) will play a key role in testing quickly a large number of pitching laws, enabling the use of an optimization method based on genetic algorithms. State of the art instrumentation, customized and provided by the second project partner, the Laboratory of Electric Drive Systems (LEA) from the electrical engineering department at OvGU, will generate data for the turbine performance and the velocity field in the turbine wake. A determination of an optimized blade shape for the turbine and high-fidelity simulations (Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) with OpenFOAM, performed at the LEGI) will provide detailed information of the entire flow field. This coupling of experiments and simulations will provide an efficient way to find optimal pitching laws and understand the underlying mechanisms leading to them.

The post is dedicated to a highly motivated PhD candidate who is willing to be part of an interdisciplinary and international team of mechanical and electrical engineers from Germany and France. The PhD candidate will be under a joint French-German supervision and the position comprises long term research stays.

1. Kirke, B., Lazauskas, L. (2011). Limitations of fixed pitch Darrieus hydrokinetic turbines and the challenge of variable pitch. Renewable Energy, 36, 893–897.
2. Abbaszadeh, S., Hoerner, S., Maître, T., & Leidhold, R. (2019). Experimental investigation of an optimized pitch control for a Vertical Axis Turbine. IET Renewable Power Generation, 13(16), 3106–3112.
3. Delafin, P. - L., Deniset, F., Astolfi, J. A., & Hauville, F. (2021). Performance Improvement of a Darrieus Tidal Turbine with Active Variable Pitch. Energies, 14(3), 667.
4. Hwang, I., Lee, Y. & Kim, S. (2009). Optimization of cycloidal water turbine and the performance improvement by individual blade control. Applied Energy, 86, 1532–1540.

Location and practical aspects:
The succesful applicant will be hosted at the Laboratoire des Ecoulements Géophysiques et Idustriels (LEGI), University Grenoble-Alpes and at the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Thermodynamics (ISUT), University Otto-von-Guericke of Magdeburg. It will lead to one PHD degree from both Universities.

The PhD student will work under the supervision of Dr Hoerner and Pr Thévenin from OvGU, and Dr Delafin, Dr Bonamy and Pr Delannoy from the LEGI lab.

Gross salary:
France 1787€/months (18 months)
Germany TV -L E 13 50% (18 months)

Total duration: 36 months

Start date: 1. October 2021


Requirements for the position:

Additional Requirements:

For further information please contact Pierre-Luc Delafin pierre-luc.delafin(at) or Stefan Hoerner stefan.hoerner(at)

Applications from disabled persons will be given priority in the case of equal suitability, ability and professional expertise. The Otto von Guericke University aims to increase the proportion of women researchers within the university and specifically encourages women to apply.

Please note the information for storage of personal data:

Please send your complete application (cover letter, curriculum vitae, references) by June 20, 2021 (date of receipt of application) using the online application portal.

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