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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Dr Gerald Muller PhD MSc Dipl.-Ing.

Associate Professor

Dr Gerald Muller's photo

Dr Gerald Muller is Associate Professor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

My original degree is in structural engineering, but my research has taken me into the fields of low head hydropower, wave energy and more recently thermodynamics. My research is driven by the necessity to create economical and environmentally acceptable solutions for the generation of renewable energy. Quite often my inspiration for research projects comes from the analysis of historic technology which has been forgotten, or which is disregarded today for example because of a perceived lack of efficiency. In my work I mostly use a combination of theoretical and experimental work, the latter with laboratory tests as well as field measurements and prototype scale work.

First degree: Structural Engineering (FH Frankfurt)
Master’s degree: Civil Engineering (Queen’s University Belfast)
Ph.D.: Wave loadings on shoreline wave power stations (Queen’s University Belfast)

Current role:
Associate Professor: University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

My main research interest lies in the field of renewable energy, where I am working on low head hydropower and, to a lesser extent on wave energy. In low head hydropower we have developed hydropower converters based on novel concepts, such as the utilisation of hydrostatic pressure differences or the generation of head differences from currents. The principles developed for the utilisation of river and tidal currents were then also be applied to wind energy, using an aerodynamically improved version of the Persian Wind Mill.

Experimental hydropower facility River Iskar, Bulgaria
Figure 1
Floating kinetic energy converter, Sagsdorf/Germany
Figure 2
Students conducting model tests of a buoyancy type wave energy converter
Figure 3

The nature of the field has led me to further work in the wider area of renewables and also into thermodynamics at near ambient temperatures. This rather exciting and novel area led to the development of novel concepts for atmospheric steam engines, solar thermal collectors and the characteristics of aerated water flows.

In addition, I am very interested in historic technology for renewable energy, looking at the principles and the performance of historic machines in order to establish whether they have further development potential today, where improved theory, better materials and changed requirements exist.

1m diameter model of a breastshot water wheel
Figure 4
Tests of a model stream wheel
Figure 5

Examples of my research interests in historic technology include water wheels, buoyancy machines such as Armstrong’s Wave Motor, and the atmospheric steam engine.

Research group

Water and Environmental Engineering Group

Affiliate research groups

Energy and Climate Change , Coastal Engineering and Management

Research project(s)

System requirements for low-cost energy-efficient algal biomass cultivation for biofuel production

This research was funded by the Carbon Trust's Algal Biofuels Challenge programme, and aimed to provide the basis for design and engineering of cost-effective mass culture systems for algal production

Academic Integrity Officer for Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Code Course Role
CENV3015 Design project Lecturer
CENV6084 Coastal and Maritime engineering and energy Coordinator
CENV6123 Coastal flood Defence Lecturer 
CENV6143  Research Project: Engineering in the Coastal Environment Lecturer 
CENV6127 Understanding Civil Engineering  Lecturer 
CENV6128 Understanding Civil Engineering (Hydraulics)  Coordinator 
Dr Gerald Muller
Engineering, University of Southampton, Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus, Burgess Road, Southampton, SO16 7QF

Room Number: 178/5007/B1

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