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Robust power converter design and analysis

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Fully-Funded Doctoral Studentship in Offshore Wind Energy Power Converters and Reliability
Department of Engineering, Durham University

Supervisors: Dr Christopher Crabtree and Dr Peter Matthews

Durham University is seeking applications for a PhD studentship as part of our EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships project (EP/R004900/1). This £7.6M project is a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Durham and Hull and the two leading industrial companies in offshore wind energy, Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy). The successful applicants will be working with researchers across the three academic partner institutions and alongside industrial experts from Siemens-Gamesa and Ørsted. They will also have close links to the Durham Energy Institute and be able to access training through the University’s Researcher Development Programme

Project Title

Robust power converter design and analysis

Project Description

Power converter reliability is a major factor in the operating cost of wind turbines. This work will build on the outputs from previous work at Durham University and research activity currently ongoing by Ørsted. Power converters in wind energy applications have higher failure rates than would be expected and this project will seek to understand the factors that drive these higher failure rates through modelling and experimental validation, with support from industrial field data. The project will address topics such as: modularisation and redundancy to reduce the impact of failure modes, investigating the impact on failure rates of increasing system voltage to up-scale power rating rather than connecting identical power supply modules in parallel, and developing a reliability model of full converter system.

Assessment Criteria

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria. Candidates should contact the relevant member of academic staff to discuss project-specific requirements:
• At least an upper second class honours degree in engineering, physics or the mathematical sciences.
• Strong understanding of engineering applications and problem solving.
• Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English.

The following criteria are desirable but not essential:
• Knowledge of offshore wind energy systems, relevant to the particular project.
• First degree in electrical engineering
• Understanding of computational modelling of electrical systems
• Understanding of reliability analysis techniques
• Experience of working with industry

Funding and Application Process

• The Department holds an Athena Swan Bronze award, highlighting its commitment to promoting gender and ethnic diversity in Science, Engineering and Technology.
• Decisions will be made on applicants as they are received.
• The academic supervisors, Dr Christopher Crabtree () or Dr Peter Matthews (), are available for informal discussions with any interested candidates who would like further details before submitting an application.
• To apply formally for this studentship, applicants should submit an application using the online system found at
• The UK/EU studentships are fully funded for 3.5 years with a tax-free stipend at the EPSRC rate (£14,777 for 2018/19).

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