PhD Position in Design of an Electric Machine for a Booster Pump in Hydropower Pumped Storage

Trondheim, Norway
Jul 06, 2020
End of advertisement period
Aug 15, 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position 

The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has a vacancy for a three-years position as a PhD Research fellow at the Department of Electric Power Engineering. The described PhD is part of the research within the Norwegian Centre for Hydropower Technology (

About the Norwegian Centre for Hydropower Technology (HydroCen)

HydroCen is a Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME). The FME scheme is established by the Norwegian Research Council. The objective of the Research Council of Norway FME-scheme is to establish time-limited research centers conducting concentrated, focused and long-term research of high international caliber to solve specific challenges in the field. The FME-centers can be established for a maximum period of eight years.

The main objective of HydroCen is to enable the Norwegian hydropower sector to meet complex challenges and exploit new opportunities through innovative technological solutions. The research areas includes: hydropower structures, turbine and generators, market and services, and environmental design. NTNU is the host institution and main research partner together with SINTEF Energy Research and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA).

You will report to Head of Department

Duties of the position

Norway has 50% of Europe’s hydropower reservoir capacity. Much of this capacity is in relation to reservoirs and/or large lakes on both sides of an existing power plant. Currently, 10800MW of conventional hydropower is installed at these locations. Many of these locations are candidates for installation of pumped storage power capabilities, which would drastically increase the total installed power at these locations and in the energy system. However, pumping requires a bigger submergence than conventional hydropower and for this reason; the existing power plant cannot be used for such an expansion because they will be insufficiently submerged to avoid cavitation because the pressure becomes too low in pumping mode. In this project the goal is to develop a new booster pump technology for providing the necessary pressure increase, so that all existing power plant infrastructure can be reused for an expansion with pumping capabilities.

In this PhD study an electric machine to be used to propel the novel booster pump is to be designed. Initially, in cooperation with turbine designers, the focus is on conceptual design to clarify if an integrated electrical-mechanical interface is beneficial. If not, a modular solution may be used. It is assumed that a compact Permanent Magnet machine can be used.  The electrical machine must be able to run at a variable speed/power to produce a varying boosting lift. Furthermore, in long intervals the booster pump may also be used in power generation mode in series with the main turbine. In this generator mode the electric machine must provide a variable power delivery depending on optimal conditions for the whole system.

The PhD student is expected to be able to build a numerical model of the electrical machine which will be used to estimate overall performance, efficiency, weight and cost. A scaled model/prototype is expected to be built in cooperation with the turbine designers and external partners.

Required selection criteria

The objective of the PhD education is to qualify for scientific research of high international standard. The PhD education has a nominal duration of three years of full-time study and includes required coursework or similar academic training comprising a minimum of 30 credits. The most important component of the PhD education is an independent scientific research project carried out under academic supervision, which results in the PhD thesis. The PhD degree is conferred based on these two elements and the doctoral examination, which consists of a trial lecture and a public defense of the scientific thesis.

The applicant must hold a M.Sc. degree in Electrical Power Engineering. Knowledge and experience in electrical machinery, FEM-analysis and laboratory experience is beneficial. High motivation and good analytical and communication skills will be emphasized in the employment process.

Applicants are required to submit a one-page research proposal within the described research area.

The ability to work in a team and good communication skills will be emphasized in the employment process.

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

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

Other qualifications

Applicants must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. If your first language is not English, the following tests can be used as documentation: TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge

Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.

(CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Personal characteristics

In the evaluation of the candidates, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as personal motivation for the position, in terms of the qualification requirements specified above. We look for candidates who show clear signs of independence, original thinking and scientific mindset.

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 479 600 per annum. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The employment contract is for three years; however, there is a possibility for extension up to four years if selected for assistantship.

Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD programme in Electrical Power Engineering. Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See for information about PhD studies at NTNU.

As a PhD candidate, you will have to successfully complete the PhD academic training programme; the training includes mandatory course work and other obligatory activities. Within the first three months of your employment, you must formally qualify for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering.

About the application

Please submit your application electronically via 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).

 The application must contain:

  • A cover letter where the applicant describes his/her personal motivation and how he/she intends to fill the position.
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) which includes information about the candidate’s prior education, work experience, academic merits and any scientific publications.
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study programme and grading system.
  • The required documentation of English language proficiency.
  • Names and contact information of at least two references.

Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

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.

The Department of Electric Power Engineering works closely with key players in the Norwegian electricity supply sector, which manage critical infrastructure. A comprehensive risk assessment of the candidates' research interests and potential activities related to national threat assessments will therefore also form basis for the final selection of candidates.

In the final assessment of the candidates also strategic considerations at the Department of Electric Power Engineering will be taken into account.

Application deadline: 15.08.20

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. Under the Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

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.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Arne Nysveen, or Professor Robert Nilssen:

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 Electric Power Engineering

The Department of Electric Power Engineering is one of the seven departments at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. Our department is Norway’s leading in the field, and our vision is to be at the centre of the digital, green shift. We have excellent collaboration with business and industry as well as other universities and research organizations internationally. This gives us outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary research with high relevance for the society, addressing industrial needs and global challenges.

Deadline 15th August 2020
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Campus Gløshaugen

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