Enhanced Pump as Turbine (PAT) Design

Enhanced Pump as Turbine (PAT) with Variable Speed Control

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The abundance of water resources and mountainous terrain of Tasmania make hydropower advantageous for both large- and small-scale power generation.  Micro scale pump as turbines (PATs) are a cost effective and versatile hydropower technology used for generating electricity on a smaller scale from water from a dam or river, or from an industrial process where they can replace a pressure reducing valve to recover energy that would be otherwise wasted. Micro scale PATs may also be connected to existing water storages to store and generate energy as required, effectively providing a micro-scale pumped storage hydropower system. This project investigates the performance enhancement of conventional PATs using two recent developments in technology. Replacement of the pump rotor with an optimised 3D printed rotor will improve hydraulic efficiency and provide frequency-based speed control. A wide range of materials may be 3D printed, including metal components. In addition, recent advances in power electronics now allow frequency-based speed control, which will allow for control of turbine speed and power output. These enhancements will significantly improve the performance of micro-scale PATs and bring benefit to the local renewable energy industry in Tasmania.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Associate Professor Alan Henderson


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Bachelor of Engineering or Science with Honours.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Associate Professor Alan Henderson to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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