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Thermal Energy from Embedded Retaining Walls: Development of Analysis and Design Methods


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Thursday 30 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Dr Fleur Loveridge and Professor Simon Rees
School of Civil Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The UK Government has a commitment to achieve Net Zero emission by 2050. While the last five years has seen a 50% reduction in carbon density of the electricity grid, the target is unlikely to be met without also tackling the gas network. This is because gas, principally used to provide space heating delivers over twice the energy of the electricity grid. With an ever decreasing carbon intensity of electricity, one of the best routes to decarbonise heating is through use of ground thermal energy storage coupled with ground source heat pump systems. However, heat pump systems retain high investments costs, mainly due to the expense of drilling dedicated ground heat exchangers (GHE).

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Efforts to reduce these up-front costs include using dual purpose buried civil engineering structures as GHE and for structure support. This technique has been successful for foundation piles, but is now being developed for other infrastructure such as metro systems, underground carparks, and water and wastewater infrastructure. Thermal energy storage via embedded retaining walls is the type of structure closest to industry implementation, having been trialled in notable case studies in Paris, London and Vienna.</p> <p>However, adoption of the technology is being held back by an absence of accessible analysis approaches and design tools to assess the amount of thermal energy which can be stored. This PhD project will provide those tools and aims to:</p> <ol> <li>Develop novel analytical methods to relate heat exchanged with embedded retaining walls with the temperature changes within the structure;</li> <li>Test these methods against short to medium duration field data and longer timescale synthetic numerically derived datasets;</li> <li>Make recommendations for design methods and checks to be used in practice;</li> <li>Determine the types of projects and locations most suitable for long term operation of heating and cooling systems using embedded retaining walls.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>As well as analytical analysis, the project will involve assisting in maintaining field sites and interpreting data from those sites. This will allow development of insights into the thermal behaviour of retaining walls used as heat exchangers which will guide choices on appropriate methods and boundary conditions for analysis and design.</p> <p>This PhD project forms part of a larger research project and the applicant will work with other researchers at the University of Leeds as well as a range of industrial and academic partners in the UK and overseas.<br /> &nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Thermal Energy from Embedded Retaining Walls: Development of Analysis and Design Method&rdquo; as well as <a href="" target="_blank">Dr Fleur Loveridge</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>UK/EU/International&nbsp; &ndash; School of Civil Engineering&nbsp;Scholarship Award paying Academic Fees at Home/EU fee rate (&pound;4,600 in Session 2020/21) or International fee rate (&pound;23,750 in Session 2020/21) and Maintenance matching EPSRC rates (&pound;15,285 in Session 2020/21) per year for 3 years. &nbsp;Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;or by&nbsp;telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>