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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 senior lecturer at the EPSRC Wind and Marine Energy Systems Centre for Doctoral Training 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 Institute of 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 Training Manager for the EPSRC Wind and Marine Energy Systems Centre for Doctoral Training He is PI of the UK-China MOD-CORE 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)
  • Introduction to Wind, Wave and Tidal Technologies (to 1st year students in the EPSRC Wind and Marine Energy Systems CDT)

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:

  • 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

Master of Engineering, University of Durham

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2009 2027

Research Output 2005 2019

Comparison of anomaly detection techniques for wind turbine gearbox SCADA data

Mckinnon, C., Carroll, J., McDonald, A., Koukoura, S. & Soraghan, C., 17 Jun 2019. 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Open Access
Wind turbines
Support vector machines
Neural networks
Wind turbines
Composite materials
Steel structures


Gaussian process models for SCADA data based wind turbine performance/condition monitoring

Author: Pandit, R., 1 Jan 2019

Supervisor: McMillan, D. (Supervisor) & McDonald, A. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Activities 2010 2019

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