PhD: Aerodynamic and aeroelastic design and analysis of a new concept of Offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (2 PhD positions)

PhD: Aerodynamic and aeroelastic design and analysis of a new concept of Offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (2 PhD positions)

Published Deadline Location
19 Jan 20 Mar Delft

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Job description

As the effects of climate change are becoming ever more visible, Europe has raised its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources from the previous goal of 27% to 32% by 2030. Offshore wind energy can play a key role in achieving the EU target and contribute to the required 40% reduction in CO2 emissions. However, to achieve the previously mentioned targets the cost of offshore wind must be reduced.

These 2 (two) PhD vacancies are part of the H2020 X-Rotor project, which aims to develop disruptive new offshore wind turbine concept known as the “X-Rotor”. The X-Rotor has potential to reduce the cost of energy (CapEx and OpEx) from offshore wind by up to 20%, based on a conservative estimate from early feasibility study work. The X-Rotor concept is an offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbine with blade-tip mounted Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines for power conversion.

The two PhD students will be part of an international research team with expertise in the areas of aerodynamic, structural, control, electrical and cost modelling within the wind energy sector. Additionally, environmental and socio-economic impact analysis will be carried out to determine the advantages and disadvantages of the X-Rotor in those areas. Industrial partners are also part of the research consortium.

The research for the two PhD researchers aims to (among other):

PhD 1: Aerodynamic and aeroelastic modelling and design of the X-Rotor: an aero-elastic dynamic model (aerodynamic and structural) catering for the complex geometry of the X-Rotor will be developed with the main aim of assessing the deformations of the blades under unsteady loading and the effect of localised forces due to the small rotors. The model will simulate: 1) the unsteady aerodynamics of the rotor, including the complex blade-vortex interaction and the mode shapes of the X-Rotor configuration; 2) the interaction of the wake with the tip vortices and downwind blade passage.

PhD 2: Experimental evaluation of the performance, Loads and Energy Capture: a full aerodynamic and aeroelastic characterization of a scaled version of the X-Rotor will be carried out in the TU Delft Open Jet Facility (OJF) wind tunnel and the A-Tunnel. Smart solutions for the experimental simulations of the small rotors will be adopted when necessary, including small actuator-disk meshes reproducing the same aerodynamic multi-scale interactions between the vortices shed from the large and small scale rotors. An experimental characterization of the performance of the small rotors with change of angle of attack will be carried out in the TU Delft anechoic A-tunnel. Flow visualisation experiments will be additionally carried to quantitatively investigate the complex dual-rotor wake interactions using the most novel HFSB (Helium Filled Soap Bubbles) particle tracking velocimetry technique developed at TU Delft.

The two PhDs will contribute to the aerodynamic design of the concept in cooperation with the other H2020 X-Rotor partners.



Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate should have an MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or an MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as applied physics, applied mathematics, or mechanical engineering with a proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in the field of fluid mechanics. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and a strong interest in applied aerodynamics and aeroelasticity is required. Experience with numerical and/or experimental aerodynamics is preferred. Since an important part of research work is dissemination and collaboration, fluent communication skills, both written and orally, in English are of utmost importance. Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 jaar.

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

The Department of Aerodynamics, Wind Energy and Flight Performance and Propulsion (AWEP) is one of four departments composing Aerospace Engineering. Fundamental research is performed in the Aerodynamics section. Aircraft design, propulsion systems and their integration are the main topics in the FPP section. Wind energy systems, from small wind turbines to large offshore farms, are the objective of the research of the Wind Energy Section. The department operates comprehensive laboratories, equipped with modern wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measurement systems.

The Wind Energy Section facilitates the development of wind energy technology and the expansion of the use of wind power through research and education.

In its research activities there is a focus on large multi megawatt offshore wind turbines and offshore wind farms, though urban and airborne wind power is also addressed. Both technology development aspects as well as fundamental aspects are present in the research program. With respect to educational courses, the BSc and MSc level are offered for Aerospace students, SET students and for the European Wind Energy Master (EWEM) students.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD00725


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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