Superconducting Power Generators for Large Wind Turbines

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


One problem when we are trying to field super-big wind turbines is that all components involved become super heavy as well, particularly power generators. Heavier power generators require more robust foundation towers for support, which dramatically increase the cost of the entire system. The project is to investigate approaches of lightening up the next generation of utility scale turbines to generate 10 MW peak power. The major aim of this project is to develop a new compact superconductor-based generator able to work in both onshore and offshore wind turbines. Based on previous research work, it was proven that the weight when compared to conventional power generators could be reduced by at least 30% by applying superconductors. However, further work is required to analyse and improve the existing design; such as in regards to the superconducting windings and the cryogenic cooling system. The final objective is to build a 15kW prototype to prove the feasibility of the new lightweight power generator.


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Kails K (2018) Novel model of stator design to reduce the mass of superconducting generators in Superconductor Science and Technology

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Kails K (2020) Dynamic loss of HTS field windings in rotating electric machines in Superconductor Science and Technology

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Zhang H (2020) Modelling of electromagnetic loss in HTS coated conductors over a wide frequency band in Superconductor Science and Technology

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509644/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1783029 Studentship EP/N509644/1 01/07/2016 31/12/2019 Kevin Kails
Description The aim of this work was to further study superconducting generators for large direct-drive wind turbines. During this PhD, novel methods to design electrical rotating machines to enable a higher power density were developed. A novel approach to designing the stator of axial-flux machines was introduced and a new method to stack machine modules was studied. In addition, detailed superconductor modelling was done. The modelling results give insight into the use of superconductor for the application in rotational electric machines.
Exploitation Route Novel methods for the design of electric machines were introduced, which can be further studied in academia and industry to develop new rotating electric machines.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport