Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Engineering and Architecture

Supervisor name and surname:

Francisco Huera-Huarte

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Albert Fabregat Sanjuan

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:


Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Fluid Mechanics

Title of the research project:

New concepts applied to cross-flow turbines

Description of the research project:

In the last years we all have seen many new engineering concepts related to renewable energy, but in general they end up being merely prototypes that never become mainstream and massively installed. Most of these prototypes are not based on deep physical understanding but on intuition and sometimes are simply marketing tools. The poor scalability and the lack of total understanding of the governing physical principles for these devices, are the root causes for new concepts to be unsuccessful. Nowadays, the general feeling from the engineering point of view, is that large axial machines such as the horizontal axis wind turbines, are the only option to extract current energy (marine or wind) efficiently.

This proposal will provide a perfect opportunity to develop the fundamental basis for new ground-breaking technologies needed for clean fluid kinetic energy extraction from wind and marine currents, that in the future will be crucial according to our energy needs. The student will be able to carry out state of the art research, related to marine or wind current energy harvesting using the concept of the Cross-flow turbine - CFT (or vertical axis wind turbines - VAWT). Other technologies based on fluid-elastic instabilities will also be explored in parallel.

The student will work on passive and semi-active flow control methods for the blades of the CFT, ranging from the use of advanced materials for flow separation control, to shape morphing technologies for boundary layer control.


- Somoano M and Huera-Huarte FJ (2017). “Flow dynamics inside the rotor of a three straight-bladed cross-flow turbine”. Applied Ocean Research, 69, 138–147
- Somoano M and Huera-Huarte FJ (2018a). “The dead band in the performance of cross-flow turbines: Effects of Reynolds number and blade pitch”. Energy Conversion and Management 172, 277-284.
- Somoano M and Huera-Huarte FJ (2018b). “The effect of blade pitch on the flow dynamics inside the rotor of a three-straight-bladed cross-flow turbine”. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part M: Journal of Engineering for the Maritime Environment.
Ethics: This project involves ethical aspects.

Workplace location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

15 March 2021

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413