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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T031549/1
Title: Reliability analysis, diagnosis and prognosis of direct drive and medium speed generators
Principal Investigator: Carroll, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 March 2021 Ends: 29 February 2024 Value (£): 269,385
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Aug 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 5 and 6 August 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The growth of offshore wind energy is a significant feature of the UK's present and future energy mix. Wind energy is now a mainstream energy generation method in the UK and globally. In the UK alone, the offshore wind energy industry has installed approximately 8GW or roughly 2,000 offshore turbines in recent years. The impressive growth rate seen in the offshore wind energy industry has been partially driven by government policies and subsidies. For the UK offshore wind energy industry to meet the most recent strike price and eventually become subsidy free, the cost of generating electricity from offshore wind must continue to drop.

Additionally, recent CCC NetZero report has called for up to 75GW of installed offshore wind energy in the coming years. If the CCC targets are to be met, there will be approximately 6,500, ~10MW, new turbines types (multi MW direct drive and medium speed turbines) installed in UK waters in the coming years based on generator technology with a "blind spot" in reliability, diagnostics and prognostics.

In an industrial context, this demand for offshore wind energy cost reduction and reliability/prognostic enlightenment are the motivating factor for this proposal. The motivation in an academic context relates to a number of novel research opportunities unique to this application, which are outlined in the Case for Support.

The high level aim of this work is to complete the research that will allow for the creation of engineering support solutions to predict failure and remaining useful life of direct drive and medium speed generators from offshore wind turbines. An engineering support solution of this kind has the ability to remove unplanned downtime related to generators from on and offshore wind farms. The removal of unplanned downtime from a typical offshore wind farm has the potential to reduce the cost of generating offshore electricity by up to 4%.

The impact of that 4% cost reduction would be seen if wind farm developers were to invest the 4% cost saving in building additional offshore wind farms, increasing installed capacity by 4%. This would lead to an extra 370,000 homes in the UK being powered by sustainable offshore wind energy every year reducing carbon emissions by a further 660,000 tons annually. Alternatively, the 4% cost of generation savings (equivalent to ~ £210 million per year based on European offshore wind energy generation) from using the engineering support solution on offshore wind turbines could be passed to end users leading to reduced energy costs.

The timeliness of this cost saving work cannot be overstated for the UK offshore wind energy industry, which must reduce wind farm operation and maintenance costs by the mid 2020s to achieve the most recent strike price.

This research will be undertaken at the University of Strathclyde. It will support and be supported by other EPSRC funded initiatives such as the EPSRC Wind and Marine Energy systems and structures CDT and the SUPERGEN ORE Hub. A number of national and international wind turbine manufacturers, wind farm operators/utilities and research institutes will partner on this research.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.strath.ac.uk