Reliability Engineering Methods for Offshore Renewable Energy Systems. Self-funded PhD in Renewable Energy Ref: 3085

About the Research Project

University of Exeter Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

Academic Supervisors:
Dr Philipp Thies

Project Description:
Offshore renewable energy offers promising potential for low-carbon energy generation. Offshore wind is being deployed at an industrial scale while tidal and wave energy is moving toward first commercial deployments.

The continuous operation under offshore loading conditions poses formidable engineering challenges regarding long-term component reliability. Failure mechanisms such as wear and fatigue have to be evaluated and assured for typical project lifetimes of 15 to 20 years, making long-term field tests impractical and inefficient.

The wind energy industry has resorted to very specific performance and durability testing of the individual wind turbine components (rotor blades, drivetrain, nacelle and foundation) that aim to replicate and accelerate the in-situ load conditions. Similar efforts are under way for wave and tidal energy aiming to replicate service load conditions to assess and demonstrate critical components. The large majority of tests are driven by pragmatic engineering requirements, such as the investigation of a particular failure mode or assurance of load capacity.

This PhD project aims to develop and advance experimental, computational and statistical methods that improve the reliability of offshore renewable assets. Aspects to consider include the stochastic behaviour of the load environment as well as the possibility to reveal new and largely different failure behaviours for these new, often unproven applications.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor: Dr Philipp Thies.

Information about current fees can be found here:

Information about possible funding sources can be found here:

Entry requirements

Applicants for this research project must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and two academic references. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project. You may also be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email

Please quote reference 3085 on your application and in any correspondence about this project.


Application deadline:10th June 2018
Value:This project is self-funded
Duration of award:Not applicable
Contact: EMPS Postgraduate Research Office