Alasdair McDonald, MEng PhD CEng MIET


  • United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Research interests include:

  • Wind turbine powertrain design and modelling for low cost of energy
  • Design of electrical generators, especially low speed, permanent magnet machines for renewables.
  • Structural analysis and optimisation of direct drive generators
  • Reliability engineering of wind turbines with a focus on offshore wind turbine powertrains
  • The use of parallel and modular powertrains to increase availability

He is based in the Wind Energy and Control Centre and works in the EPSRC Wind and Marine Energy Systems Centre for Doctoral Training 

Personal Statement

Dr Alasdair McDonald is a Reader at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems based in the Wind Energy and Control Centre, Institute for Energy and Environment, Department of Electronic & Electrical EngineeringUniversity of Strathclyde. His research interests are centred on electrical generators and their application to renewable energy, especially wind turbine powertrains.

He studied Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Durham in 2004 and completed a PhD at the Institue for Energy Systems at the School of Engineering & Electronics at the University of Edinburgh in 2008. Subsequently Alasdair worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Edinburgh on a number of projects on direct-drive generators for wind and marine energy. In 2009, he co-founded the spin-out company NGenTec to commercialise their research of a novel air-cored generator for wind. Dr McDonald was Chief Engineer at the company in 2010-2012, during which time the company designed, built and tested a 1MW demonstrator. Alasdair has worked as a consultant on the design of permanent magnet generators for direct-drive wind turbines.

At Strathclyde he is course director for the MSc in Wind Energy Systems and Academic Training Manager for the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems. He is PI of the UK-China EPSRC-NERC-NSFC MOD-CORE project and a Co-I on the EPSRC Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing Research hub and a Co-I on the H2020 ELEMENT project.

Teaching Interests

I enjoy teaching the following courses:

  • Renewable Energy Technologies (EE317, to 3rd year Electronic and Electrical Engineers)
  • Power Electronics for Energy and Drive Control (Design of Permanent Magnet Machines part of the EE575/975 course, to 5th year Undergraduates and MSc students)
  • Wind Turbine Technology (to MSc students as part of the EE989 module)
  • Nacelle Mechanical and Electrical Technologies in Offshore Renewable Energy (to 1st year students in the EPSRC CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures)

I incorporate real world examples, industrial design  and modelling approaches/tools and elements of research into my teaching. I also deliver Continuous Professional Development (CPD) teaching to industry on Renewable Energy and Electrical Machines.

My teaching roles include:

  • Academic Training Programme Manager, EPSRC CDT in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures
  • Director of the MSc in Wind Energy Systems
  • 4th and 5th Year Advisor of Studies, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering programme


Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

Master of Engineering, University of Durham

Award Date: 1 Jan 2004

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Research Output

A review of wind turbine main-bearings: design, operation, modelling, damage mechanisms and fault detection

Hart, E., Clarke, B., Nicholas, G., Kazemi Amiri, A., Stirling, J., Carroll, J., Dwyer-Joyce, R., McDonald, A. & Long, H., 15 Jan 2020, In : Wind Energy Science. 5, 1, p. 105-124 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    90 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)



    European Academy of Wind Energy (External organisation)

    Alasdair McDonald (Member)

    2019 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    Sergio Martín-Martínez

    Alasdair McDonald (Host)

    1 Jun 20181 Jul 2018

    Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitor