phd candidate position in electric power engineering within multi-megawatt electric propulsion technologies for future zero-emission aviation

phd candidate position in electric power engineering within multi-megawatt electric propulsion technologies for future zero-emission aviation

Norway 01 Jan 2021


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State University
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01 Jan 2021
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About the position

The Department of Electric Power Engineering (IEL) at NTNU has a vacancy for a full-time 100% position as a Ph.D. candidate within the field of Electrical Machines and Drives – “Multi-Megawatt Electric Propulsion Technologies for Future Zero-Emission Aviation”. The prospective candidate will be part of a project team that works in close collaboration with Rolls Royce Electrical Norway, and will be a member of IEL's research group Electrical Machines and Electromagnetics (EME) .

The main supervisor of the Ph.D. candidate will be Associate Professor Jonas Kristiansen Nøland. The project will be co-supervised by Professor Ole-Morten Midtgård . 

The work of this Ph.D. study will be associated with the Clean Aviation EU initiative that is currently being embraced at NTNU. It is intended as a consortium of several Norwegian industrial partners, including SINTEF and Rolls Royce. 

Project description
The aviation sector is currently at a crossroads. Several international agencies have recently restated their ambitions to bring the first-ever zero-emission passenger aircraft to the market already before 2035. This bold commitment implies that all technologies needed, must be ready to be selected already by 2025. 

Until recently, it has been a challenging task to clean up the aviation industry and make it more resilient and sustainable. This is because conventional aircraft rely on energy-dense fuels and strict weight requirements. However, a paradigm shift is now occurring, where aerospace industries are switching their attention from heavy batteries to lightweight hydrogen fuel as a renewable surrogate. The idea is that green hydrogen can be combusted directly in modified gas turbines or converted to electric energy using fuel cells. Alternatively, its energy can be harnessed, combining both approaches onboard the aircraft. 

The successful implementation of hydrogen fuel implies a bright future of zero carbon emissions.  Moreover, the achieved level of electrification will be essential, as it will be the key player to reduce non-carbon emissions (mainly from water, NOx, SOx, soot, contrails, and contrail cirrus), as well as reducing onboard fuel consumption and noise. In fact, the electrification component is projected to be increasing by a factor of 50 to 100, compared to today’s solutions. However, to save additional mass due to the electrification, higher power densities will be required.  

The Ph.D. project will focus on the design of lightweight electric propulsors and ultra-efficient propulsion system configurations for future climate-friendly aviation.  In particular, the student may focus on the following tasks: 

  • Target disruptive solutions for a future revolutionary multi-megawatt electric propulsion system in the regional segment (20-80 PAX, 500-2000 km).
  • Investigate the proposed power system configuration in a virtual digital twin platform to validate the conceptual design.
  • Perform experimental and numerical validations of individual segments of the full-scale propulsion components and evaluate their modularity and scalability. 
  • Assess the airworthiness (i.e., aircraft safety) and how new technologies can fulfill the specialized certification requirements (CS-23/25).
  • Regularly publish results in scientific journals and conferences and present the project to international actors involved in the future of clean aviation.

You will report to the Head of Department.

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