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Funded PhD Opportunity

Multifunctional Building Integrated Solar Technologies

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Integration of solar energy technologies within building is drawing increasing attention in the solar energy research field. The principal aim of this research project is to design, develop and experimental characterisation of multifunctional building facade that uses solar energy technologies with in-built storage. The multifunctional building facades envelope systems will provide thermal insulation, daylight control, and incorporates solar electric/thermal collection/conversion with thermal energy storage.

The ultimate goal of this project is to address the pressing energy challenges in the built environment to achieve inexpensive energy trilemma solutions that can reduce greenhouse emissions. The project will explore the scientific/technical challenges, including control strategies relating to building integrated solar facade that utilise innovative solar technologies and will evaluate the supply/demand flexibility of this system in balancing solar capture and building energy demand over prolonged periods. Of interest is the electricity vs thermal supply dynamics and the respective economic and environmental implications, architectural integration methods and operations.

The proposed project will be based on the following tasks

*Design a multifunctional solar facade with in-built storage.

*Develop modular prototypes to evaluate performance under indoor/outdoor conditions, optimise product development in an iterative design process.

*Predict the thermal and energetic performance of the prototype units using numerical simulations.

*Design a controller strategy for optimum operations under variable climatic conditions.

*Conduct techno--economic-environmental impact assessments of the technologies.

The research will be carried out within CST lab. A prototype unit will be developed to permit intrusive measurement sensors to investigate the effect of thermal control mechanism.  The CST’s indoor solar simulator facilities will be used to simulate solar heat gain. Test bed will include temperature and pressure measurement sensors, pyranometers, data acquisition system and energy meter. Experimental data collected from the tests will be analysed and compared to the modelled data to verify the validity of the simulation model. The exiting thermal comfort chamber will be utilised to measure indoor conditions. Outdoor experimentation will be carried out in CST.

For outdoor testing in heat dominated climates established PhD Erasmus collaborations with the Universities or Patras (Greece), Napoli (Italy), Limassol (Cyprus) and Lleida (Spain) can be utilised. Computer modelling will be carried out using existing software tools. The proposed research will have regional applicability. Inherent in the project, through design and regional relationship, social, environmental and economic sustainability will be key component of the proposed research. The research will develop industrial and professional partnerships and linkage.

The proposed research will have impact on increasing legislation regarding the efficiency and environmental impact of space heating. The research will establish networks with national and international research groups and industries focusing on similar energy efficient technologies for buildings.  Any novel experimental designs and methodologies emanating from this work will be considered for IP protection. The opportunities also lie with commercial exploitation of research results through Innovation Ulster Ltd. The technical details and techno-economic assessment results will be made available to them to establish opportunities for exploitation. The research results will be disseminated through publications in journal and conferences.

Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology


    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to:

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 10 June 2019

Interview Date
19 June 2019


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Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact supervisor

Dr Jayanta Mondol

Other supervisors

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