First-of-its-kind wind power research centre opens

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 15 Dec 2009 21:49
Pioneering wind power research centre opens

A unique centre developed to look at wind power generation as part of a working partnership between University of Sheffield experts and Siemens Wind Power has opened this week.

The pioneering Sheffield-Siemens Wind Power Research Centre (S²WP), located at the Kroto Innovation Centre in Sheffield, is expected to employ an estimated 20 people and will focus on developing the most reliable, innovative and efficient wind turbine generators that will be at the forefront of future onshore and offshore wind power systems.

The University of Sheffield was chosen following Siemens’ long-term partnership with the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, which includes the Electrical Machines and Drives Group. Headed-up by Professor Qiang Zhu, the group undertakes world-leading research on technologies that are vital to future developments in electrical power engineering.

A fundamental element of the collaboration will include access to the group’s 70 academic and research personnel, as well as the University’s state-of-the-art facilities.

The centre - which is the first of its kind in the UK - was opened in the presence of civic dignitaries by Christoph Ehlers, Managing Director at Siemens Wind Power UK, and visitors were given the opportunity to view the newly refurbished laboratories within the Electrical Machines and Drives Group.

The Siemens Research Centre will specialise in providing the overall technology, architecture and design of onshore and offshore wind turbine generators, devices generating electrical energy from wind power, for the global market.

From the outset, the Siemens Wind Power project team will be tasked with expanding its core team of generator experts and collaborating closely with the University of Sheffield to develop in-house competencies in generator design that maximises power conversion.

The first endorsement of the collaboration came recently with a £1 million award to undertake joint innovation funded by The Northern Wind Innovation Programme and Siemens Wind Power in Denmark. An additional £0.55 million has been awarded to the University in direct funding by Siemens Wind Power.

Professor Qiang Zhu, from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said: “We are extremely proud of the strong relationship which our world-leading research in the Electrical Machines and Drives Group at the University of Sheffield has led us to develop with Siemens Wind Power. The University is delighted that its Kroto Innovation Centre has been chosen as the location for Siemens’ global wind turbine generator research centre.”

Christoph Ehlers, Managing Director for Siemens Wind Power in the UK said: “Partnerships like this are essential to maintain our leading position in producing more efficient and reliable wind turbine technologies. Our constant dialogue with the University’s experts will translate into real world solutions with benefits to both the wind industry and the environment.

“We’re delighted to receive the funding in recognition of our partnership to develop next generation wind turbine technologies. The funding will not only help us serve the global market more competitively but also enable wind power to make a major contribution to the UK’s energy needs.”

Siemens has already established core competence centers for wind turbine R&D; in Keele (UK), Copenhagen (Denmark), Aachen (Germany), Delft (Netherlands) and most recently in Boulder, Colorado (USA).

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