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

Research projects

Project Description:

The Project

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.


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