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Curtin University
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Curtin University

PhD in Mechanical Engineering
Full Scholarship


Available Date: July 13th, 2016

Project: Thermal and Total Performance Enhancement of Inclined Solar Chimney Power Plant Using Underneath Air-vent and Thermal Storage Medium

Degree: Ph.D.

Project Description:
The increasing demand for electrical and heat energy put pressure on natural resources leading to high deposits of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and deforestation. Renewable energy has been emphasized to alternate the use of fossil fuels for power generation. The solar chimney power plant (SCPP) is a potential commercial electrical power generation plant which combines the principles of solar-air-collector/greenhouse, turbine and chimney to generated electricity. The SCPP has very low efficiency (<2%) but favored with long operating life of about 100 years. The poor efficiency of the plant is as a result of the indirect conversion of the solar energy to electrical energy through various conversion process, thus the plant efficiency is a product of the efficiencies of the greenhouse, turbine and the chimney. The solar-air-collector/greenhouse, turbine and 1000 m high chimney have > 20%, > 60% and about 3% efficiencies respectively. Conventionally, increasing the size of the SCPP improves efficiency with the consequences of high thermal losses (above 50% thermal loss to the ambient) at the collector and high investment cost on the chimney. This research develops an inclined SCPP with underneath air-vents to enhance collector performance and reduce the thermal losses associated with the collector. The method of investigations are numerical and experimental methods. Numerical investigations will employ ANSYS-FLUENT software to study the system under various ambient conditions considering Malaysia climate, and various vent sizes and design for optimum performance. The numerical method will also study the effect of using chimney with the turbine at the chimney-base and compare with staging the turbine at the collector exit thereby eliminating chimney. An experimental prototype will be established to validate the results of the simulations following the optimum design achieved from the numerical studies.

Funding Arrangements:
This project is funded by the Ministry of Higher Education, (MOHE), Malaysia under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS). Thus, there is full scholarship for this project, which include a monthly stipend of RM2,100.00.

The requirements include the following:
1. The applicant must be a Malaysian
2. The applicant should have good background in heat transfer and fluid mechanics
3. Good knowledge in the use of ANSYS is desirable.

Interested candidate should contact:
Dr. Aja Ogboo Chikere,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering and Science,
Curtin University, Sarawak.
Phone: +6085443939 ext. 3209
Mobile: +60169495674


Available Date: October 30th, 2015

Project: Modelling and design of a rotary vane expander for oil palm waste-fired organic Rankine cycle power plants

Degree: Ph.D.

Project Description:
The importance of renewable energy in the generation of electricity cannot be overstated considering the rising cost and environmental impacts of fossil fuels. ORC (organic Rankine cycle) system is a proven technology that can be used to convert renewable energy, such as low-temperature geothermal fluids, low-grade waste heat, biomass, and solar thermal energy, into electricity thanks to the use of working fluids with low boiling points, such as pentane, butane, R245fa, and R365mfc. Compared with the conventional steam power plants, the ORC system operates at incomparably low boiling temperatures and low pressures and thus the system is simple and easy to operate. The key component of the ORC is expander which critically influences the system efficiency. In this research project, we will first develop a computer simulation model of rotary vane expander for small size ORC machine for preliminary design and then CFD analysis will be conducted for detailed design.

Funding Arrangements:
Full scholarship is available for this project, including both tuition fee and stipend (RM 2,000 per month) for three years. Interested students should contact:
Dr Hyung-Chul Jung Department of Mechanical Engineering Faculty of Science and Engineering Curtin University, Sarawak

Dr Hyung-Chul Jung
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Curtin University, Sarawak
Phone: +60 85 443 939 ext. 3830