Power extraction from resonant wave energy systems

Reference no.
Closing date

Principal supervisor: Dr Cathal Cummins (HWU, EGIS)

Industry supervisor: Dr Gabriel Scarlett (Mocean Energy Ltd.)


Mocean Energy is an Edinburgh-based company developing devices (wave energy converters) that capture energy from the ocean's waves and convert it to electrical energy. The company's current device design was the result of an optimisation algorithm that aimed to minimise the ratio of cost to energy production of such devices. The geometry of the resulting device displayed a unique feature of 'wave channels', which are sloped channels on the fore and aft of the device. The resulting design exhibits a special type of 'wave resonance' inside the wave channels, leading to large waves experienced by the device. The details of this resonance remains unexplored and underexploited.

In this project, we will identify the hydrodynamic mechanism that causes this phenomenon to occur for the real device. The project will involve numerical and computational work and we will use machine learning approaches to develop low-order models of the device’s operation. Once we gain insight into the underlying mechanism of resonance, we aim to exploit it’s wave power potential by incorporating the findings into the company’s optimisation algorithm, enabling greater power generation from the device. The principal supervisor has already made progress, by developing a 2D model for the company’s device in OpenFOAM, which has been verified with the company’s numerical model. The student will build upon this basline model in order to incorporate the sophisticated 3D hydrodynamics of the wave resonance into the company’s numerical model to enable more accurate power prediction of the device.


To be eligible, applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent experience). Additional criteria may apply so please check the specific project details before applying. Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant.

We recognise that not every talented researcher will have had the same opportunities to advance their careers. We therefore will account for any particular circumstances that applicants disclose (e.g. parental leave, caring duties, part-time jobs to support studies, disabilities etc.) to ensure an inclusive and fair recruitment process.    


Scholarships will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately £15,609 for the 36 month duration of the project and is available to applicants from the UK, EU and overseas.

How to apply

Please complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Civil Engineering and include the project reference, title and supervisor names on your application. If these details are not included your application may not be considered.  Please note that applicants may only submit ONE proposal.

Please provide a supporting statement outlining how you would approach the research and upload this to the research proposal section of the online application. You will be required to upload a CV, a copy of your degree certificate(s) and relevant transcript(s). You may also upload an academic reference to further support your application.

You must provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.


The closing date for applications is Monday 31 January 2022. Applications will be reviewed throughout March and applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of April 2022. Applicants MUST be available to start the course of study on a full-time basis in September/October 2022.