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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Christopher Crabtree

Smith, C.J., Crabtree, C.J. & Matthews, P.C. (2017). Impact of wind conditions on thermal loading of PMSG wind turbine power converters. IET Power Electronics Special Issue: Power Electronics Converters for Marine Renewable Energy Applications 10(11): 1268-1278.

Author(s) from Durham


Power converter reliability is critical for permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG)
wind turbines. Converter failures are linked to power module thermal loading but studies often neglect
turbine dynamics, control and the impact of wind speed sampling rate on lifetime estimation. This paper
addresses this using a 2MW direct-drive PMSG wind turbine model with a 2-level converter, and
simulating junction temperatures (Tj) using a power module thermal equivalent circuit under various
synthetic wind speed conditions. These synthetic wind conditions include constant and square wave
profiles representing stable and gusty wind conditions. Responses to square wave wind speeds showed that
the lower the gust frequency, the higher ∆Tj
becomes, demonstrating that low turbulence sites have greater
thermal variation in the converter. In contrast, wind speed variations with frequencies greater than 0.25Hz
deliver only small increases in ∆Tj
. It is concluded that reasonable approximations of Tj
profiles can be
made with 0.25Hz wind speed data, but that lower data rate wind measurements miss essential, damaging