Increasing the energy efficiency of straddle carriers in Port

Funded PhD Scholarship


Increasing the energy efficiency and reducing the emissions of container cranes in Port. This work will be novel as no systematic study has ever been made of the options for increasing efficiency of cranes nor how the use of intelligent energy storage could be used to reduce the demand in both peak power and energy.

Aims and objectives

Transport needs to become more efficient and reduce its impact on the environment. Within the Susports project (funded by Climate EU/KIC), a comprehensive study has been undertaken of rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes (RTG) which are used to load or unload containers from terminal tugs and stack containers in rows prior to despatching containers by road or rail. Detailed analysis and measurements have been made to identify options for increasing RTG efficiency. These include switching from diesel to electric operation and recovering energy for reuse which otherwise would be dissipated in dump resistors using on board energy storage.
The study would be undertaken together with a major port operator Leading Port Operator, a designer and manufacturer of novel intelligent energy storage systems. The drive-line of the straddle carrier (Crane) would be modelled using Matlab and validated by measurements on a straddle carrier. The options to be studied include recovering the inertial energy when a container is lowered or when the straddle carrier is regenerative braked and storing this energy for use when the next container is raised or the vehicle accelerated from rest.
Also to be investigated is to use the energy store as a power multiplier that this by the store taking in energy at a low rate and giving it out at a much higher rate. Following measurement and modelling, the intention would be to validate the model’s predictions by demonstrating the savings potential on a straddle carrier and to refine the control algorithms.
Project stages (PS) - 36 months. The project plan for the PhD studentship is as follows. Academic deliverables


Leading Port Operator will provide the equipment’s and resources such as energy storage and metering implementation with the installation of a storage on a carrier to evaluate the proof of concept
The work has potential for significant impact on the scientific development of nonlinear control methods, and in their application. The approach to nonlinear control design and application to energy harvesting is novel for straddle carrier, and is motivated by the structure of important problems arising in the real world.

Specific requirements of the project

The potential applicants will have:

It is important to be able write publications and to present your research work to audiences from specialists to the general public.

Student eligibility

This opportunity is open to UK and EU applicants


Informal enquiries can be made to:

Professor William Holderbaum

How to Apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online

Please quote the reference: SciEng-WH-2018-1.

Please complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application. This collects important information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Before you apply, we recommend that you:

Next Stages of Your Application

We will contact you to let you know the initial outcome of your application, and invite you to attend an interview where appropriate.

Once the university is satisfied with the following, we will send you an offer letter informing you that you have been offered a place of study:

Some offers may be conditional upon achieving certain grades in your examinations, or successfully completing a particular programme. You must satisfy these conditions before we can confirm your unconditional place.

Closing date

30 April 2019

Research Study