Wind Energy

This research theme focusses on the research and development of both onshore and offshore wind energy. Our wind energy research covers topics such as powertrain and generator design and modelling, grid integration, aerodynamics and hydrodynamic modelling and testing of floating turbines, blade design and analysis, power-to-X methodologies, condition and structural health monitoring of turbines and life cycle assessments of wind energy.

This is an exciting time to be researching wind technology in the School of Engineering. The UK has around 25GW of wind energy generation connected to its grid. According to the 2019 Offshore Wind Sector Deal, the UK aims to have installed 30GW of offshore wind by 2030, leading to 27,000 jobs and UK annual exports worth £2.6bn. At a time of rapid growth in offshore wind, innovative research by Edinburgh colleagues is helping to reduce the cost of energy of wind turbine technology and usher in new forms of wind energy devices,

The School of Engineering has 23 academics whose work involves wind energy research, across a number of related research themes:

  • In Electrical Power Conversion, novel electrical machines for direct drive turbines are being designed, modelled and tested; these are connected to innovative designs of power electronic converters to enable grid connection and optimal control.
  • The Policy and Innovation Group is active in the techno-economic, environmental and socio-economic impact assessment of innovative floating wind concepts.
  • In Power Systems, where the grid operation is affected by wind energy integration, current research touches on Distributed Generation, Power Quality and Reliability Analysis and Power System Dynamics and Stability.
  • In Energy Storage, research into compressed air energy storage, ocean renewable energy storage, thermal energy storage and power-to-X technologies can help reduce the effects of variable wind generation. Expertise includes modelling of hydrogen production and storage
  • In Energy and Climate Change, colleagues are studying the impacts of climate change on wind energy and investigating the use of life cycle assessments to improve the design of wind energy systems. This is built on expertise in wind energy resource assessment, mapping and reanalysis through high performance computing. 
  • In Naval Architecture, research into novel wind-assisted propulsion systems is being undertaken.
  • In Offshore Renewable Energy, colleagues study the interaction of the aerodynamics and hydrodynamics of floating wind turbine systems.
  • The Composites Group is investigating fibre reinforced polymer composite materials in the design and testing of large composite structures such as wind turbine blades.
  • In Structural Engineering & Mechanics, structural health monitoring of wind energy assets is studied.

The School of Engineering undertakes wind energy research through two CDTs: the EPSRC and NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Renewable Energy (IDCORE) and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures. Robotics as applied to offshore wind energy is a key application for colleagues' research in the ORCA hub.

Facilities for research into wind energy include:

  • the 25m diameter, 5m deep wave and current tank at FloWave which is used for testing floating wind turbine models
  • the Electrical Power Conversion laboratories, including generator and power converter test rigs
  • FASTBLADE - the world's first regenerative fatigue test facility

For enquiries into School of Engineering wind energy research please contact Alasdair McDonald

Image of offshore wind turbines at Rampion Wind Farm
Offshore wind turbines at the Rampion wind farm
Image of an onshore wind turbine near Elgin in Scotland
Onshore wind turbine near Elgin, Scotland