PhD Candidate in Detailed Experimental Study of Low-carbon Fuel Injection and Combustion

Trondheim, Norway
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
End of advertisement period
Tuesday, 5 October 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for a PhD at Department of Marine Technology  to join the Marine Machinery group.

The main topic of the PhD is the detailed experimental investigation of low carbon, so called “green” fuels, for use in marine internal combustion engines.

In particular the PhD project will focus on the fuel and air mixing process for multi-fuel concepts, in the form of detailed examination of the fuel injection and spray formation process, using high speed imaging techniques to characterize the injection and ignition process.

As society and the global economy makes the transition to a low carbon society, industrial sectors are examining which technologies and energy carriers should be invested in now and which ones are likely to be taken up in the future. Across most of the industries, there is no clear single winner. The marine sector is one such industry, with a number of options currently being examined, including batteries, zero carbon green fuels, synthetic fuels, biofuels, fuel cells and even sails seem to be making a comeback.

The large variety of vehicles in the marine sector, means that one technology is not likely to be applicable to all, and while for some vessels, batteries seem like a sensible option, for larger, deep sea, long range vessels, it is unlikely that the internal combustion engine (ICE) is going to be displaced any time soon.

If the use of large marine internal combustion engines is here for some time, then it is critical that new, low or zero carbon fuels must be used, and these new fuels must have favourable operational and emissions characteristics. There are three fuels that are currently gaining some attention in this area, hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol. The ammonia and methanol may be thought of as hydrogen vectors, essentially viewed as a molecularly bound method to store and transport hydrogen, rather than relying on large, expensive, heavy, complex cryogenic or high-pressure systems. What’s more, the future of some shipping may be multi-fuel, with the requirement to be able to combine or switch between fuels, depending on availability and cost, this may be described as a fuel- flexible, dual- or multi- fuel engine.

To optimize the use of the new fuels, providing operational information for fuel switching, component design, emissions control and the development of detailed simulations, a deeper understanding of the fuels utilization in the engine is required. With the engines on the larger vessels (where the ICE will be the most difficult to fully displace) likely to utilize some form of direct injection (fuel is injected directly into the engine combustion chamber), fuel injection and fuel spray formation become critical topics of research to achieve this deeper understanding.

This position will conduct fundamental experimental and numerical tests of fuel injections and fuel sprays using a large optical combustion chamber with very high-speed imaging. The fuels of interest will include (but not limited to) ammonia and methanol. The project will be used to develop new injection equipment, new injection strategies and as validated input for numerical spray simulations for fuel-flexible, multi- fuel, marine engines.

The successful candidate will conduct the project over a 3-year period under the supervision of Associate Professor David Emberson.

Duties of the position

  • The objective of the PhD work is to use experimentally derived data, to characterize the fuel injection, ignition and combustion of ammonia, methanol and other low carbon green fuels
  • The work involves injection and combustion experiments conducted in large volume, optical combustion chamber using high speed optical techniques
  • The successful candidate will be responsible for completion of the experimental equipment to ensure it is suitable for experimental ammonia and methanol combustion testing, developing the testing protocol and data collection
  • These results then need to be processed and interpreted in a manner that will supply useful information for component design and numerical simulation

Required selection criteria

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions.

  • Completed a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in mechanical or marine engineering (or equivalent) with a minimum of a grade B (NTNU’s grading scale)
  • If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic foundation. If you are unable to meet these criteria you may be considered only if you can document that you are particularly suitable for education leading to a PhD degree
  • Motivation for fundamental scientific research of practical relevance is essential with an intertest in experimental and empirical methods
  • Experience working in a combustion or mechanical engineering type lab is a prerequisite
  • Good written and oral English language skills, including academic writing

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant.

Preferred qualifications

  • Strong theoretical background in mathematics, physics and/or combustion
  • Good communication skills
  • Programming skills in MATLAB, Python or similar
  • Basic CAD and LabView experience
  • Good experience working with experimental equipment and tools

Personal characteristics

  • Positive attitude and confidence in working independently and in teams
  • Ability and willingness to work in inter- and transdisciplinary teams
  • Enthusiastic and able to adapt and learn
  • Highly motivated and scientifically curious
  • Appreciation of safe working practises

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017 and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 491 200 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.
The period of employment is 3 years with an option for a 4th year doing teaching or other duty work.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in The Department of Marine Technology within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

The application must include: 

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes personal motivation and relevance with respect to the topic and the requirements of this advertisement, including a short (maximum 1 page) description of an approach to address the topic of the PhD study
  • CV, certificates and diplomas
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to5 works)
  • Name and contact information (e-mail, phone) for three referees

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability.

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. 

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

In accordance with The Public Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Associate Professor David Emberson, Tel: 981 52 966, e-mail:  If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Michi Skorstad Murakami, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters. Please refer to the application number IV-210/21 when applying.

Application deadline: 05.10.2021

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Marine Technology

We develop methods and technology related to the blue economy: oil and gas extraction at sea, ship technology and the equipment industry, fisheries and aquaculture. We also have a strong commitment to the development of sustainable solutions for offshore renewable energy, coastal infrastructure, and marine robotics. Marine technology helps to solve major global challenges related to the environment, climate, energy, food and efficient transport. The Department of Marine Technology is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Engineering.

Deadline 5th October 2021
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Department of Marine Technology

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