EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships - University of Sheffield and Siemens Gamesa

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A short video on the new Prosperity Partnership project between University of Sheffield and Siemens Gamesa.

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My name is Arwyn Thomas I am head of generated technology development at Siemens Gamesa. I have teamed up with Professor Zhu from the University of Sheffield and we’re looking to reduce the cost of energy from off-shore wind. So the UK market is the largest off-shore wind energy market in the world and the aim of this project is to accelerate the reduction of the cost of off-shore wind for the future.

We’re researching a range of different technologies which we’ve identified as key to being able to reduce the cost of energy, from electrical drive trains to maximise the efficiency of the mechanical wind energy to electrical energy and we’re looking into new blade technologies to try and improve the structural health monitoring for the future. The University of Sheffield’s machines and drive department is the leading department in the world in looking into permanent magnet motors and through this Prosperity Partnership and working with them all really allows us to accelerate our research into permanent magnet generators.



Our own relationship with Siemens has started from 2009 that is 7 years ago. We helped Siemens in the development of very successful, commercialised 7&8 megawatt generators and now the current moment we are looking for the next generation with a low cost, more reliable generator system. The engineer challenges for the off-shore wind power generator lies because it is very big and you can’t imagine the turbine is larger than the A380 aircraft, this is amazing you know very big, so how to manufacture? How to transport it? How to easily repair it? It’s a bigger challenge.



We’re going into the unknown. Nobody has ever made blades and generators this large before. So in this lab it really allows us to test new ideas and test new theories, so we can prototype small scale generators. So we’ve got the direct drive test rig in the test cell and we’ve got examples of different generator technologies behind you. We’ve got a prototype facility that’s provided by the University that allows us to rapidly prototype new generator technologies so we can test them here in this lab.



Siemens is the largest wind-power generator Off-shore, number 1 and DONG Energy is the largest wind farm developer. If we’re not involved this research maybe be conducted somewhere else in the world then the UK wouldn’t have a share of that and so by being involved in this project we will be the leading position in the world.


We’ve potentially got over 30 gigawatts of market in the UK and globally so if we can get a head start on the doing this research in the UK, this is potentially a huge export for the future as well.