Postgraduate research project

Innovations in waste energy minimisation from maritime engineering power and propulsion systems

Fully funded (UK only)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

This PhD project, in association with BAE Systems, seeks to reveal and investigate novel solutions to deliver significant improvements in overall energy efficiency in maritime transport.

Maritime transport is one of the most energy efficient, however the cumulative carbon footprint from global shipping is equivalent to a large, industrialised nation, approximately 3% of global total. Imaginative solutions, delivered at pace are required to meet the ambition of fully decarbonising shipping by 2050, as agreed at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

This challenge is at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation because ships’ power and propulsion systems are highly complex energy networks. They integrate thermal, mechanical, fluid and electrical energy components for propulsion, preservation of life in comfort, cargo and numerous mission-critical systems. 

They comprise some of the largest power plants in the world that are highly constrained by space and weight. They work seamlessly for extended periods of time in complete isolation, in the harshest environments on earth.

Each energy conversion in these complex energy networks has energy loss or inefficiency. For example, huge amounts of heat is lost to the air and sea through cooling water and exhaust gas systems. Wild heat is radiated from the power and propulsion components. This requires heating, ventilation and cooling systems to be installed and power to run them. With the transition to scarce renewable fuels, non-traditional energy converters and storage devices, such as fuel cells, super capacitors and batteries, the complexity of heat management will increase.

As a researcher on this project your aim will be to reveal and investigate new solutions to deliver significant improvements in overall energy efficiency. You'll consider minimisation, capture, reuse and integration of otherwise wasted heat and energy across the complex ship power and propulsion systems. You'll investigate:

  • system configurations to repurpose waste energy to other useful functions
  • power take-offs and take-ins
  • introduction of novel waste energy recovery concepts such as organic Rankine cycles and cryogenic systems

You'll join a world-leading and dynamic team of PhD students, researchers and expert academics within the Maritime Engineering Research group, affiliated to the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute. These groups research many aspects of clean, safe and smart maritime systems, encompassing power and propulsion, hydrodynamics, structures and artificial intelligence.