Nottingham doctoral student wins Best Clean Sky Award for his thesis on more electric aircraft

 Clean Sky
11 Apr 2017 17:30:24.700

Dr Fei Gao, who just completed his doctorate at The University of Nottingham, has won the Best Clean Sky PhD Award for his thesis in applied sciences and engineering for aeronautics.

Dr Gao’s thesis is based on Clean Sky’s Systems Green Operations initiative involving future electric power systems for aircraft. The thesis examines these systems’ architecture, controls and power distribution throughout an aircraft and is based on a projected future high-voltage DC network, as opposed to the present day 28 volt network. 

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Dr Gao began his doctoral studies in 2012 in the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group (PEMC) Research Group under the supervision of Dr Serhiy Bozhko, Associate Professor of Aircraft Electric Power Systems. Speaking about Dr Gao’s success, Dr Bozhko said, “My congratulations go out to Fei Gao. I am delighted that he has been recognised for his stellar academic efforts. His research makes an innovative contribution towards the next generation of aircraft electric power systems, improving their efficiency and power quality, as well as their weight and volume. This in turn supports the move towards greener aviation.”

Dr Fei Gao’s research is significant in that it enables the University to participate in and shape the debate on the development of avionics systems and equipment that will contribute to the next generation of environmentally friendly aircraft.

The aerospace industry has drawn up a series of goals that it would like to meet by 2020 and part of the European response to this is called the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). By looking at the type of energy system an aircraft uses, researchers at the University hope to counteract the environmental and financial costs of air travel. One aspect of this is the PEMC Research Group’s work on power converters and power electronics.

Fei Gao said “I am delighted to have won this award. My success is testament to the excellent and successful teaching I gained at the University of Nottingham.”

Dr Gao received his award at the Clean Sky 1 Closing Event in Brussels. He has joined the University of Oxford to continue his research and is planning to apply for an academic position in the future.

This is the second year running where a student from The University of Nottingham has won the first prize in Clean Sky, Europe’s largest research programme which develops innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing CO2, gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft. Last year’s Best Clean Sky PhD Award was won by Dr Tao Yang, who is now a member of the University’s engineering faculty.

The Best Clean Sky PhD Award acknowledges the importance of young scientists for the greener aviation of the future. The awards are open to all PhD students whose work contributes to the Clean Sky Programme, which is all about next generation aircraft technologies. The Clean Sky Best PhD Award distinguishes young scientists who have recently completed a PhD thesis in the field of aeronautics within a Clean Sky Project. The award is intended to highlight an outstanding achievement by a young person at the start of their scientific career.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


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More information is available from Dr Serhiy Bozhko, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 8490,; or Shirlene Campbell Ritchie, Media Relations Manager at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 846 7156,

Shirlene Campbell Ritchie

Shirlene Campbell Ritchie MCIPR - Media Relations Manager (Faculty of Engineering)

Email:  Phone: +44 (0)115 846 7156  Location: University Park

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