PhD Scholarship – WindLEDeRR Project

The MTU School of Building & Civil Engineering is pleased to offer a PhD scholarship for research in the area of structural engineering, with specific focus on structural integrity assessment of decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades (WTB). The scholarship is related to the WindLEDeRR project – A comprehensive decision support tool for end-of-life wind turbines of Ireland; lifetime extension, decommissioning, repowering, repurposing. WindLEDeRR is a three-year project funded by SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), led by the University College Dublin and with Munster Technological University as a partner in an Irish consortium. Recent SEAI announcement regarding funded projects can be found here.

Applicants should send a CV, cover letter, transcripts and list of referees to Dr. Vesna Jaksic (ei.utm@ciskaJ.anseV), by 16.00CET / 17.00GMT on 5th March 2022.

Shortlisted candidates will be called for an interview in mid-March, 2022.

Starting in April 2022, the PhD candidate will develop a repurposing decommissioned wind turbine blade decision support tool which will be used to determine if a decommissioned blade may be repurposed for a specific use. The work will consist of the following tasks:

1) Quantification of Ireland’s current stock of WTB and likely decommissioning schedule of same;

2) Establishing criteria for Repurposing Assessment at the Wind Farm (e.g. on site procedures for inspection, defect identification and condition rating of the blade will be established);

3) Establishing criteria for Repurposing Assessment in the Laboratory (structural non-destructive and destructive testing; may include a suite of standardized material tests, laser scanning and detailed examination for defects at a laboratory type facility);

4) Testing and refining protocols developed in previous stages based on collated data on the existing WTBs in use in Ireland; and

5) Development of WTB repurposing decision software. The vision is that wind blade owners will have open access to a protocol and software tool that will provide a realistic assessment of the repurposing options available to them. Such a protocol and software tool have the potential to direct the end-of-life turbine blade discussions towards repurposing.

6) The successful candidate will contribute to two of WindLEDeRR’s work packages, whilst also developing his/her own research thesis. The candidate will be responsible for carrying our research on-site at Wind Farm locations and in the laboratory using various structural/ material assessment/testing techniques.

This research position offers candidates an opportunity to work within a large Irish consortium and as part of a multidisciplinary research environment within MTU. The PhD candidate will have opportunities for international travel to major conferences and for scientific collaboration. The PhD candidate will work closely with colleagues in MTU in the Sustainable Infrastructure Research & Innovation Group within the School of Building & Civil Engineering, MTU.

The successful candidate will receive a stipend of €18,500 per annum for a maximum of three years and an annual contribution of €6,000 towards tuition fees.

Applicants should hold a Masters’s degree (minimum final grade 2.1 or equivalent) in Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science or a related discipline. The ideal candidate will have a background in structural testing and analysis, material testing, Finite Element (FE) analysis, computer programming and data processing. Fluency in English and excellent written and oral presentation skills are required.