Research Vacancies

PhD Fellowship, Development and optimisation of hydrogen storage coupled with FOWT farms

Job Posted: 12 Jun 2020
Closing Date for Applications: 17 Aug 2020
School: MaREI Centre
College: College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
Contract Type: Fixed Term Whole-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: see advert for details

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Development and optimisation of hydrogen storage coupled with FOWT farms

Position Summary

This PhD Fellowship is part of the STEP4WIND project which is funded under the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie H2020 ITN Research Program. This project is focused on addressing the main challenges facing the large-scale deployment of floating wind turbine arrays. The successful candidate will join a team of 10 early stage researchers working under the guidance of leading EU academics and industry partners to accelerate the commercialisation of these highly promising renewable energy technologies. 

The work of this PhD Candidate is focused specifically on the coupling of hydrogen generating technologies in combination with floating wind farm arrays in order to reduce costs, improve electricity quality (both frequency and availability) and contribute to further to carbon abatement.

MaREI Centre Background

This PhD Candidate will be based in the MaREI Centre, Ringaskiddy, Cork, Ireland for a period of 18 months during this fellowship.

MaREI is a key research centre within UCC’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI), which is an internationally recognised Institute for environmental research dedicated to the understanding and protection of our natural environment and to developing innovative technologies, tools and services to facilitate a transformation to a zero carbon and resource efficient society. The MaREI Centre is an SFI funded research centre headquartered in the ERI in UCC. The MaREI Centre includes eleven other Universities and Third Level Institutes, has 50 industrial partners and has research funding of approximately €55m. It combines the expertise of a wide range of research groups and industry partners, with the shared mission of solving the main scientific, technical and socio-economic challenges across the marine and renewable energy spaces. MaREI is also funded by SEAI, EI, EPA, ERDF, EU, HEA, Marine Institute, DCCAE and IRCSET IRC, as well as through contributions from our industry partners. Researchers in the MaREI Centre have over 30 years of experience in conducting fundamental and applied research supported by competitively won national and international funding, and commercial contracts with government agencies and industry. MaREI’s strengths lie in the multi-disciplinary nature of its research teams and its links with the School of Engineering in UCC, allowing it to combine insights across areas such as MRE Technologies, Materials & Structures, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Observations & Operations, Coastal & Marine Systems, Bioenergy, Energy Policy & Modelling, and Renewable Energy Management.

Principle Power France Background

This PhD Candidate will be seconded to Principle Power, Aix-en-Provence, France for a period of 18 months during this fellowship. 

Principle Power is an innovative technology and services provider for the offshore deep water wind energy market. Its proven technology, the WindFloat - a floating wind turbine foundation - enables a change in paradigm for the industry in terms of reduced costs and risks for the installation and operations of offshore wind turbines. Principle Power sells the WindFloat as a technology solution and acts as service provider to developers, utilities and independent power producers, being present from the overall system design throughout fabrication, installation and commissioning, and providing support to customers during the operation life cycle of the platform.

STEP4WIND Background

STEP4WIND is a European Industrial Doctorate programme, granted under the H2020 Marie-Curie Innovative Training Network initiative (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019, grant agreement 860737). The programme runs between April 2020 and March 2024 and will deliver 10 PhD degrees, in joint supervision and training between the public and private sectors. The main objective is to address both technological and economical challenges related to the commercialisation of floating offshore wind farms. 

Description of Research topic

Floating wind turbine are likely to be deployed far from shore in large arrays. The value and utilization of the electricity generated will need to be maximised to ensure the economic success of these projects. The coupling of hydrogen generation technology in an integrated manner to achieve these goals will be the focus of this research.

In Year 1, the state of the art of hydrogen production methods will be reviewed focusing on operational parameters, storage variables and fuel Cell Variables. A list of key stakeholders involved in electrolysers, storage, transportation and distribution/applications of fuel cells will be developed.

In Year 2, several conceptual systems of hydrogen storage will be developed on the basis of the existing developments and future projections of the variables defined in Year 1. Feasibility studies will be performed for the implementation of a hydrogen storage system on the WindFloat using numerical simulation and possibly physical testing. The levelised cost of storage will be calculated for the various scenarios.

In Year 3, the design of the most promising implementation of the hydrogen system will be investigated further. The PhD Candidate will work closely with PPF to incorporate all the components of the hydrogen storage system on the WindFloat and determine its impacts on cost and performance.

Key duties and responsibilities 

The PhD candidate will conduct a specified programme of research aligned with the work of the STEP4WIND project and the expertise of supervisors in MaREI and Principle Power.


  • Minimum 2H1 (second class honours, grade 1) honours degree (or equivalent) in a related scientific or engineering discipline. Anticipated results are sufficient if the candidate has not completed their degree programme at the time of application.
  • Preferably a MSc. (or equivalent qualification) in related engineering or scientific discipline.
  • Demonstrable capability of working within a project team and ability to innovate.
  • Good communication, organisation and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent academic English writing skills
  • Candidates must have resided or carried out their main activity outside of Ireland for more than 24 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.
  • Candidates must, at the time of recruitment, be in the first four years of their research careers and have not previously been awarded a doctoral degree.

Salary: €3270 per month, plus mobility allowance and family allowance for eligible candidates, subject to taxation and country specific adjustments. Full details of allowance can be found here.

Duration: 36 months


For informal enquiries on the post candidates should contact:

Name: Dr Cian Desmond

Title: Research Fellow

Email :

To Apply:

Please send

  1. Short cover letter describing your motivation for applying for the position and how your experience and expertise match the research topic.
  2. CV.

 To Ms Grainne Lynch ( ), on or before the closing date 17th August 2020.

University College Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer
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