Three PhD positions on intensively-strained turbulent hydrogen flames for ultra-low emissions gas turbine combustors (ERC Project OTHERWISE)

Three PhD positions on intensively-strained turbulent hydrogen flames for ultra-low emissions gas turbine combustors (ERC Project OTHERWISE)

Published Deadline Location
27 Feb 24 Mar Delft

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Job description

Three PhD positions have just become available at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TU Delft, department of Flow Physics, Propulsion and Technology (FPT), Chair of Sustainable Aircraft Propulsion (SAP), within the context of the project OTHERWISE (Control of Hydrogen and Enriched-hydrogen Reacting flows with Water injection and Intensive Strain for ultra-low Emissions), funded by the European Research Council.

We are racing against time to find a clean, yet abundant, energy source able to arrest global warming. Hydrogen has all the characteristics to address this challenge: it can be produced cleanly from water; it is incredibly energetic; and more importantly, it is carbon-free. However, hydrogen’s strong reactivity and diffusivity make the control of its flame in energy-generation devices extremely challenging. Moreover, toxic nitric oxides (NOx), a major concern for air quality, are still abundantly produced in a hydrogen flame. Enabling the use of hydrogen requires thus solutions where the flame is stable and with ultra-low NOx at the same time, and at any power setting.

The present research will use for the first time a combination of intensive strain and water injection to suppress NOx and keep the flame stable at the same time. Recent research of the SAP group has indicated that intensive strain improves the reactivity of the hydrogen flame and simultaneously pushes the NOx down significantly. Water injection further pushes down the NOx, but it commonly causes flame extinctions and inefficiencies. Its combination with hydrogen and intensive strain, by enhancing the flame, offers a way of surpassing these limitations, and further allows to operate the flame at richer conditions, so preventing common instabilities from occurring in lean premixed combustion.

The objective of this research is to push the hydrogen flame into a high-strain regime characterised by stable flame and ultra-low NOx, and find the extreme limits and physical knowledge allowing full control of the reacting flow at the highly turbulent conditions relevant for gas turbines. The flame dynamics will be fully characterised by using high-fidelity large eddy simulations and theoretical analyses, and by combining them with experimental analyses of single- and multi-phase (hydrogen with water spray) flows. The final goal is to achieve control of the hydrogen flame at any power setting, so to pave the way for the exploitation of green energy.

The specific topic of each of the three PhD positions is as follows: 

  1. Control of highly-strained hydrogen flames at highly turbulent, high-pressure conditions;
  2. Control of highly strained hydrogen flames with liquid water injection; 
  3. Suppression of thermoacoustic instabilities in highly strained hydrogen flames with minimal secondary fuel injection.

Each of the three positions will involve a strong interaction with the experimentalists and other researchers in the SAP group. The successful candidates are expected to begin their activities on the 1st of May 2023.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are seeking for three excellent candidates who hold an MSc in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering, or related subjects (math, physics). The candidates must demonstrate:

  • Excellent analytical skills and outstanding track record in the disciplines related to the research subject.
  • A passion for fluid dynamics and power generation systems
  • Good knowledge of CFD methods*.
  • An aptitude for coding and software development. Preferably previous experience with one or more of the following: Matlab, Python, C++, Fortran*.
  • An aptitude for team-work and effective communication in an international environment.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

* NOTE: Candidates with strong background and motivation in pursuing experimental combustion (rather than CFD) will be also considered and are encouraged to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1.5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2.5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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 Adviceto 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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

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 270 PhD candidates andclose to 3000 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, governmentsand 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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03546


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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