D4 - Power Electronic Conversion

D - Sensing, Control and Electromechanics

Status - published
Last updated on: 23/03/2022

Challenges/Opportunities

Power electronics converters are key for all ORE technology and a major challenge for all converters is to improve their reliability.

Solution

Improved control systems and analysis of the power electronic converter will improve reliability and the performance of the drivetrain and grid interface.

Context And Need

Power electronics converters are the key enabling technology for renewable energy utilization. They play an increasingly important role in power system stability and reliability, in particular with the growth of the ORE farms (mainly wind farms now). The major challenge is performance and reliability.

Summary

Power electronics conversion is important for all types of ORE technology and the power electronics needs to have better reliability and improved control systems in order to enhance performance and grid integration. The impact of improved power electronic control reliability will be to reduce operating costs and improve utilisation of ORE.

Impact Potential

Control of the power electronic converter can enhance the performance of the drivetrain and grid interface. Performance during faults is important. A major challenge is to improve reliability and impact on OPEX reliability.

Research Status

Existing projects are currently being undertaken in:

  • Wind - Sheffield University, University of Edinburgh, Warwick University, University of Manchester, University of Strathclyde
  • Wave - Newcastle University, University of Edinburgh
  • Tidal - University of Edinburgh, University of Strathclyde

Previous projects include:

  • All Electric Drivetrain for Marine Energy Converters (EDRIVE-MEC): EDRIVE (EP/N021452/1) aims to tackle a fundamental weakness of current wave energy converters, namely the electro-mechanical Power Take-Off (PTO). EDrive will improve the PTO chain from generator through to grid interface by creating an all-electric solution. This will, in turn, address issues of reliability and maintainability.

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Supergen ORE Hub - Flexible Funding Research

  • Advanced, Modular Power Take-Off Design for Marine Energy Converters
    Lead Institution: University of Edinburgh
    Harvesting untapped wave energy represents both an attractive solution to support the move towards a carbon-free society and a major technical challenge to develop reliable Power Take-Off (PTO) systems that convert mechanical motion into electrical power. In recent years, all-electric PTO systems have been proposed with an aim to reduce system complexity in order to increase reliability and, ultimately, reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE). This has led to the development of novel direct-drive generators that couple directly to the prime mover; the mechanical interface is therefore eliminated along with the wear and lubrication issues that have caused so many component failures in the wind energy industry. Despite the progress made in PTO design in recent years and the steps taken to reduce the LCOE of wave energy conversion, costs are still high compared to other renewable energy technologies where Operation and Maintenance (O&M) is still a key issue. The project aims to reduce O&M costs by improving PTO reliability and simplifying maintenance through the use of integrated, power electronics – electrical machine, modular design. This aim addresses a very relevant and timely challenge in wave energy conversion by a need to reduce LCOE initially to be competitive alongside other renewable energy sources, with the longer-term goal to compete with established fossil-fuel generation.

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Links to Industry Priorities:

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We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape.

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PhD projects in Offshore Renewable Energy

In order to better understand the breadth of ORE research currently being conducted in the UK, the Supergen ORE Hub has collated from its academic network, UK Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial partners, a list of PhDs currently being undertaken in ORE.

Access a PDF of the list and find out more about including your PhD.

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