PhD Studentship: Development of a sustainable, hydro-powered water saving irrigation system

PhD Studentship: Development of a sustainable, hydro-powered water saving irrigation system Water & Environmental Engineering Group

Location: Highfield Campus

In classic irrigation systems, the water is distributed from main channels into smaller trenches, which then irrigate the fields or plants. This requires a lot of water, and today it is desirable to utilise water-saving drip or sprinkler irrigation systems. These however require pressurised flow. Electric pumps are a possible solution but such systems need electricity lines (the irrigated field may be kilometers away from the next village), pumps and of course electricity. At Southampton University, we developed a very simple water wheel, which combines high efficiency with such low head differences. The wheel can combined with a very simple spiral pump, which could then drive the drip irrigation. In this project, we want to

(a) investigate the use the ultra low-head hydropower converters (HPC, H = 0.10 to 0.30 m) to drive water saving irrigation systems using the hydropower available in the irrigation canals.

(b) develop the technology up to field testing stage.

The aim of the project is, to create a sustainable, cost-effective system, which employs the available hydropower in irrigation canals to drive water saving irrigation systems. This includes the development of a theoretical model for the HPC/pump/delivery point system, the integration of the hydropower system into the irrigation system itself as well as the development of novel solutions for water supply. Within the project, we will build and test small scale and near-full scale systems and install a system in Spain (near Valencia). The project will run in cooperation with aQysta Ltd. (Delft / Netherlands, and is funded by the European Commission.

The candidate must have a civil, mechanical or agricultural engineering degree. Experience with hydraulic engineering (e.g. UG projects) and physical modelling in hydraulic engineering is desirable.

The project is supported by the European Commission under the SME Instrument programme with aQysta Ltd. as the principal contract holder. The funding includes the stipend as well as student fees for EU- candidates plus funding for experimental equipment, travel and field tests.

The project will include field testing in irrigation systems in Spain, two testing periods of 10 to 14 days are anticipated.

Interview dates: 18.09.2017 – 13.10.2017

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Gerald Muller, Water and Environmental Engineering Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2465.