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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Wind Energy Research

The Wind Energy Group at Durham University is recognised as a leading academic wind energy research group in UK and globally, particularly within offshore wind energy.

The UK now has more offshore wind installed capacity than any other country in the world and our research is helping to ensure this sector is efficient and cost effective.

Our research spans all aspects of wind energy from the design of turbine blades and foundations, cable installation, power electronics, the reliability and condition monitoring of wind turbines, how turbines interact within wind fields and with the environment, as well as the wider supply chain and regulatory contexts of wind farms.

The research group involves researchers from several of the University’s Departments including Engineering, Business School, Computer Science and Social Sciences.

The University has a long-standing strategic partnership with the leading Offshore Wind Developer in the world – Ørsted. The Company has funded a Chair in Renewable Energy based in the Engineering Department since 2011.

Key areas of research:

Operations and Maintenance
Structures and Geotechnics

Grid Integration

•Reliability Analysis •Foundations and Anchors •Reliability Modelling
•Condition Monitoring •Seabed Ploughing •Array Connection Topologies
O&M optimisation •Blade Fatigue Testing Power Electronics
•Data Mining Prototype Turbine Geometries

Integration and interaction with power

grid and energy storage

Aerodynamics and Control

Supply chain and Regulation

Blade Design and testing Supply chain management
Aerodynamics and Wind Tunnel testing International offshore / marine law
Wind Farm Control and optimisation

Featured Research Projects

  • EPSRC Prosperity Partnership: A New Partnership in Offshore Wind

    A £7.6 million partnership with Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa, Sheffield and Hull Universities. The project will identify and break-down technical, operational and economic barriers to reducing the cost of offshore wind energy. Prof Tavner is Advisory Board Chair for the Partnership.
  • Project Aura

    This is the Offshore Wind Cluster for Humber. Durham University is a member with Ørsted, Siemens Gamesa, Sheffield and Hull Universities and Greenport Hull. This collaboration is creating a world-leading multidisciplinary offshore wind skills, research and innovation hub.

    Fully funded PhDs in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment. A partnership between Universities of Hull, Durham, Sheffield and Newcastle. Durham University will lead 15 PhD projects through the CDT and more than 20 academics from the University are engaged in developing and supervising projects. Prof Tavner is a Scientific Advisor to the CDT.
  • WindAfrica

    Developing performance-based design for foundation systems of wind turbines in unsaturated soils in Africa.
  • EPSRC Home-Offshore(EP/P009743/1)

    Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farms (£3M in total, Durham University Share: £310k).
    A multi-disciplinary project led by the University of Manchester with universities Durham, Warwick, Strathclyde, and Herriot-Watt as academic partners and wind energy sector partners such as ORE Catapult, The Crown Estate, and SP Energy Networks. The project’s aim is to develop a holistic approach toward the problem of operation and maintenance in future offshore wind farms with turbines exceeding 10 MWs in range. As part of this project, Durham University has been responsible for developing new stochastic simulation models for operational simulation of wind farms and uncertainty quantification of data for purposes of reliability and economic evaluation of operation of wind farms. (Project webpage: ). Prof Tavner is the Advisory Board Chair for HOME.
  • Energi Coast

    Durham University is the innovation lead for the North East Offshore Wind Energy Cluster.
  • Novel Power System Transmission Assessment Under Severe Uncertainty

    An ORE Catapult sponsored PhD studentship looking into applications of advanced statistical methods for offshore wind farm transmission investment planning under severe epistemic uncertainty in the input data.
  • EPSRC Supergen Wind

    Durham Researchers led Phases 1 & 2 of the highly successful EPSRC Supergen Wind Consortiumproject involving 9 universities and research institutes. This project successfully re-established a world leading UK academic community in Wind Energy research starting from 2006. In the Phase 3 Supergen Wind Hub Durham University was also on the Management and Executive Committees.
    Watch a presentation by Dr Christopher Crabtree on Durham University Research within Supergen Wind