Future reliable renewable energy conversion systems & networks: A collaborative UK-China project.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

Reliability is essential to the success of renewable energy systems. The estimated life of wind turbines is about 20 years, this is in comparison to 40 years for a conventional steam turbine generator unit. However the failure rate of wind turbines is about 3 times higher than that of conventional generators. The key feature that differentiates a renewable energy source, from conventional generation, is the inherent fluctuation of the source, giving rise to poor reliability due to fatigue cycling and consequently high life-cycle cost. This proposal aims to build a consortium of UK and Chinese researchers to investigate the scientific causes of poor reliability of components and develop solutions to improve it. Stress analysis and impact evaluation will be performed for stresses in thermal, mechanical, or coupled thermo-mechanical domains, taking into account the practical operating conditions. Accelerated aging test will be carried out to identify critical areas where improvement can be made cost-effectively. The research aims to develop new design concepts and new techniques that can be integrated in future renewable energy conversion systems and networks for reliability. Potential new techniques include active thermal management, integrated power smoothing, and mechanical stress releasing methods. These will be compared with alternative technologies that have been pursued by the consortium members and other researchers, such as gearless direct-drive systems, modular and fault tolerant designs and condition monitoring. The research will initially focus on wind turbines but will be extended to other forms of renewable electrical power generation including wave and tidal stream systems.Five UK and four Chinese universities as well as Chinese Academy of Sciences are initially included in the consortium which is strengthened by seven industrial partners from the two countries, in order to establish the expertise and facilities needed to address the multidisciplinary problem. The programme promotes essential and close interaction between the themes and the individual tasks. The interactions take a range of forms, from providing testing materials and facilities to the development of stress and reliability models for techniques for performance improvement. Chinese organisations will commit 9 PhD studentships to compliment the 7 themed PhD studentships in UK universities. The dissemination will involve academic publications, a dedicated website, consortium meetings, international seminars and events.

Publications

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Gao B (2017) A Temperature Gradient-Based Potential Defects Identification Method for IGBT Module in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

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Tang Y (2016) Capacitor Selection for Modular Multilevel Converter in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications

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Tang Y (2016) A Model Assisted Testing Scheme for Modular Multilevel Converter in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics

 
Description This project funded a PhD student who worked on condition monitoring of power electronics. This is a rapidly advancing field, in which techniques are developed to enhance the reliability of systems such as off-shore wind turbines or aircraft in order to monitor the condition of the high power components and detect the early signs of deterioration allowing renewable to be scheduled, rather than leading to catastrophic failure which can result in the system being unavailable for long periods.
Exploitation Route The system arising for this project has been further developed and is now used as a basis for a innovate UK based project on off-shore wind turbine reliability.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

 
Description This work produced a highly cited paper in the leading journal in the field. It is now used as an exemplar of how condition monitoring can be used in harsh environments.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Electronics,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Economic

 
Description International Energy Agency, Energy Efficient End-use equipment, 4E, Power Electronic Conversion Technology Annex PECTA
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact Overall Goal The overall goal of PECTA includes collecting and analysing information about new wide band gap (WBG) based power electronic devices, coordinating internationally acceptable approaches that promote WBG-based power electronics and developing greater understanding and action amongst governments and policy makers. Specific Goals (a) Collecting and analysing information on new WBG-based power electronics as energy efficient technology (b) Share expertise and pool resources on this energy efficient technology (also including e.g. hosting of open forums and building collaborative networks as well as gathering and ex-change information) (c) Coordinating internationally acceptable government approaches that promote WBG-based power electronics. (d) Developing greater understanding and promote government actions that encourage the use of WBG-based power electronics. (e) Accompanying and supporting international standardization public organizations (specifically IEC).
URL https://edna.iea-4e.org/
 
Description HOME-Offshore: Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farm
Amount £3,048,221 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P009743/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 04/2020
 
Description Modelling, Optimisation and Design of Conversion for Offshore Renewable Energy (UK-China MOD-CORE)
Amount £809,108 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R007756/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 06/2020
 
Description Dynex Semiconductor Ltd 
Organisation Dynex Semiconductor
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Two of Dynex's engineers are being trained in the fabrication of devices using the cleanroom facility at Warwick for a period of 3 months.
Collaborator Contribution Dynex is sponsoring a PhD student at the University of Warwick's power electronics group.
Impact Dynex's engineers will gain expertise and increased knowledge from this experience. This will also advance Dynex and Warwick's long-term collaboration potential.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Joint Laboratory with Chogqing University in Silicon Carbide 
Organisation Chongqing University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK partner in this collaboration, to promote the use of Silicon Carbide Power Electronics in the Distribution and transmission networks. We mainly focus on device design and fabrication. Together we are developing joint research proposals.
Collaborator Contribution Mainly focus on applications and building hardware for the grid.
Impact Sign memorandum of understanding. China-UK Newton funds applied for. Rated top project in China but unfunded in the UK.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Joint Laboratory with Chogqing University in Silicon Carbide 
Organisation University of Warwick
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK partner in this collaboration, to promote the use of Silicon Carbide Power Electronics in the Distribution and transmission networks. We mainly focus on device design and fabrication. Together we are developing joint research proposals.
Collaborator Contribution Mainly focus on applications and building hardware for the grid.
Impact Sign memorandum of understanding. China-UK Newton funds applied for. Rated top project in China but unfunded in the UK.
Start Year 2015