The project

As larger wind turbines with newer powertrain technologies are introduced in the offshore wind sector, state-of-the-art machine learning techniques that use past field data are no longer directly applicable. Operational alarms based on physical models of older turbines are often no longer valid with new powertrain technology. This represents a key vulnerability in the offshore wind sector.

This project will develop a hybrid digital twin combining transfer learning and physical modelling approaches that will be able to model normal and abnormal behaviour for new turbines before operational data is available. As turbines move further offshore, operators are motivated to reduce the number of turbine visits for cost and safety reasons. The hybrid models proposed in this application could be used to reduce the number of powertrain inspection and service visits. The requirement for visits will be reduced through the digital twin providing additional health indicators and recommendations to the operators, and by adding confidence to the use of existing health indicators provided by SCADA and monitoring systems.

Dr Alasdair McDonald - Principal Investigator

Dr Alasdair McDonald is a Reader at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems based in the Wind Energy and Control Centre, Institute for Energy and Environment, Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde. His research interests are centred on electrical generators and their application to renewable energy, especially wind turbine powertrains.

He studied Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Durham in 2004 and completed a PhD at the Institue for Energy Systems at the School of Engineering & Electronics at the University of Edinburgh in 2008. Subsequently, Alasdair worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Edinburgh on a number of projects on direct-drive generators for wind and marine energy. In 2009, he co-founded the spin-out company NGenTec to commercialise their research of a novel air-cored generator for wind. Dr McDonald was Chief Engineer at the company in 2010-2012, during which time the company designed, built and tested a 1MW demonstrator. Alasdair has worked as a consultant on the design of permanent magnet generators for direct-drive wind turbines.

Read more about Dr Alasdair McDonald

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