Coordinated Active Reliability Improvement for Power Electronic Converters in Offshore Wind farms

Research projects

Project Description:

This PhD scholarship is offered by 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 and will continue their PhD research at Durham University .

For more information visit Or if you have a direct question about the project, please email and we will forward the query to the relevant supervisor. Please do not contact the project supervisors directly.


The offshore energy generation capacity is growing at a very fast rate and offshore wind is expected to provide the backbone of our electricity supply in 2050. Considering the need for cost effective, clean, and reliable energy, reliability of offshore wind energy systems is more important than ever.

One of the key underlying technologies used in modern wind energy conversion systems is Power Electronics. 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. This project therefore proposes solutions for modelling and improving the reliability of power converters in offshore wind farms. 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 its turbines. This model will then be used to form an optimisation problem, where the objective will be to maximise the reliability while maintaining the power generated in the wind farm.

Running conventional electrothermal simulations can be extremely time consuming, therefore this project will aim to use Artificial Intelligence methods such as Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) to generate accurate and fast models for estimating the remaining lifetime and reliability of power converters. The optimisation problem will then try to find an optimum solution for improving the reliability of the converters.  Here, a suitable method (e.g., heuristic optimisation methods such as Particle Swarm Optimisation) will be used for solving the problem.


Training and skills

The student will receive training on one of our Real-time simulation platforms. We currently have two RTDS systems as well as an Opal-rt real-time simulator in the smart grids lab. At the end of the PhD, the student will be a world-class researcher in power electronics, reliability, and real-time simulation, which will make the prospects of a job in academia (as a researcher or lecturer), or in industry (as a power electronics expert, consultant, or manager) very promising.


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 Mathematics and Statistics, we would like to hear from you.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language proficiency level that meets the requirements of the Aura CDT’s academic partners. This course requires academic IELTS 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in each skill.



The Aura CDT is funded by the EPSRC and NERC, allowing us to provide scholarships that cover fees plus a stipend set at the UKRI nationally agreed rates, circa £17,668 per annum at 2022/23 rates (subject to progress).



Research Council funding for postgraduate research has residence requirements. Our Aura CDT scholarships are available to Home (UK) Students. To be considered a Home student, and therefore eligible for a full award, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the scholarship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education). For full eligibility information, please refer to the EPSRC website. In addition, a number of Aura CDT Scholarships will be available to International Students across the projects offered by the partner institutions.


How to apply

Applications are via the University of Hull online portal; you must download a supplementary application from the Aura CDT website, complete and submit.

For more information about the Aura CDT including links and detailed instructions on how to apply, please visit the website:


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