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Dr Nicholas Townsend MEng, EngD


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Dr Nicholas Townsend is a Lecturer in the Maritime Engineering Group at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on the dynamics of renewable energy scavenging systems for boats and marine robots.

Nick received his Master’s degree (MEng) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK. Spending one year studying under the Universitas21 program at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Nick received his Engineering Doctorate (EngD) from the University of Southampton, UK, which was sponsored by FBM Babcock Marine Limited and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

MEng, Mechanical Engineering, The University Birmingham, 2003

(Universitas 21 student exchange with the University of Melbourne, IMechE best Project certificate)

EngD, Engineering Doctorate, The University of Southampton, 2008 (Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI))

Lloyd’s Register Foundation Research Fellow, The University of Southampton (The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) Calder Prize, The Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award (Runner Up))

Research interests

The SeaTech Project

To reduce ship emissions this research is exploring the application of bow mounted flapping-foil thrusters to directly convert kinetic energy from the ship motions into thrust to augment the overall propulsion in waves.

Wave Propelled Boats (ASV FLEUR)

To extend the endurance of Autonomous Surface Vehicles, this research is exploring flapping foil-based mechanisms for converting ocean wave energy directly into propulsion (saving power) or directly into electricity (to recharge the vehicle in situ).

Energy Scavenging Systems for autonomous surface and underwater vehicles (AUV Willie)

To overcome the powering constraints and enable marine robots to stay out at sea for longer and avoid periodical recharging (and redeployment) from an expensive support vessel. This research is exploring the dynamics of control moment gyroscopes for recharging vehicles in situ (from the wave induced motions) and motion control.

The SeaTech Project
The SeaTech Project
Wave Propelled Boats (ASV FLEUR)
Wave Propelled Boats (ASV FLEUR)
Energy Scavenging Systems (AUV WILLIE)
Energy Scavenging Systems (AUV WILLIE)

Research group

Maritime Engineering

Affiliate research group

Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI)


Various Outreach projects Including Sutton trust and Headtstart residential courses, Arkwright Scholarships Trust and engineering taster days and founded the

TEAtime lecture series

World Robotic Sailing Championships WRSC2018 and IRSC2018



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Module CodeModule NameRole
SESS6072 Maritime Robotics Module Lead
SESS3025 Marine Engineering Module Lead
SESS3022 Shop Ship Manoeuvring and Control  
SESS6065 Fundamentals of Ship Science  
Dr Nicholas Townsend
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number : 176/3005

Dr Nicholas Townsend's personal home page
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