Coordinated Active Reliability Improvement for Power Converters in Offshore Wind Farms

Aura Centre for Doctoral Training

PhD scholarships in offshore wind
energy and the environment

Coordinated Active Reliability Improvement for Power Converters in Offshore Wind Farms

Project Description

In all modern wind turbines, a power converter is placed between the generator and the grid to control the electricity generation. However, power converters are usually one of the most fragile parts of these systems and cause high downtime and maintenance costs in offshore wind systems, as proven by numerous studies. One of the main sources of failure in power converters is the temperature variations caused by variations in the generated power, as well as fundamental frequency variations caused by the AC currents passing through the converters’ semiconductor switches.

This project therefore precisely addresses this challenge and proposes solutions for modelling the reliability of power converters in a wind farm which can be used for active reliability enhancement of the power converters, as well as active maintenance management in offshore wind farms. This work’s key hypothesis is that by active thermal management of power converters, it is possible to control the overall reliability of the wind energy conversion system and manage it actively.

The work will begin by developing a modelling framework for determining the power converters’ reliability in a wind farm as a function of the mission profiles of the turbines. These models will then be used to form an optimisation problem, where the objective will be to maximise the reliability and the power generated in the wind farm. For example, by intelligent derating of a component (e.g., a switch) or derating of a turbine, its lifetime consumption (i.e., damage received) will decrease, so by proper control of the system it will be possible to optimise the overall reliability of the system and manage it actively.

PG-Dip Year and PhD Research

We are seeking a candidate for this PhD scholarship with the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. The successful applicant will undertake a PG-Dip training year at the University of Hull before completing their PhD research at Durham University.

Entry requirements

If you have received a First-class Honours degree or a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters (or the international equivalents) in Engineering, Computer Science, or Mathemathics and Statisticswe would like to hear from you.

Academic Supervisors

Dr Mahmoud Shahbazi, Durham University

Prof Christopher Crabtree, Durham University

Please address any enquiries to, do not contact the supervisors directly.


Funding is available for Home students only. The full-time Aura CDT PhD Scholarship includes fees and maintenance (£16,062 per annum, 2022/23 rate) for four years, depending on satisfactory progress. The scholarship is available from September 2022 as a full-time position (part-time study is available). You will join Cohort 4 of the Aura CDT in Hull, in the heart of the UK’s Energy Estuary – the global centre for research, innovation and development for the sector. Initially, you will study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment, followed by a 3-year PhD project based at Durham University.

Applications are open until 6 June 2022. Please see our instructions on How to Apply

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
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