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UTD Wind Distinguished Seminar Series: "What will future wind turbines look like?" by Bill Leithead


The wind turbine concept that everybody has become very familiar with consists of a tower, a nacelle, which contains the power conversion system, and a rotor, which rotates about a horizontal axis turbine. There have been several innovations over the last 40 years, the introduction of pitch control in about 1985, variable speed operation in about 1995 and direct drive in about 2005. One of the most remarkable and visible aspect of wind turbine innovation has been the very rapid increase in size from 100kW in 2015 to 10MW today. This development of wind turbines has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Is it inevitable that this variable speed pitch regulated wind turbine concept will continue on the same evolutionary path, merely getting larger and larger, or is there room for radical new concepts that are better suited to the offshore environment? In recent years some novel wind turbine concepts have been attracting attention and have become the focus of substantial research programmes. Two of these novel turbines, the Multi-Rotor concept and the X-rotor concept, will be considered. The motivation, underlying ideas and potential benefits of these radical re-thinking of wind turbines will be described.


Prof. Bill Leithead joined Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, as a lecturer in the Industrial Control Centre, now the Wind Energy and Control Centre, in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in 1986 and became its Director in 1999. He has been conducting research into Wind Energy since 1988 and today his research group has 8 academic staff and more than 60 PhD students and post-graduate researchers. He is, also, the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind Energy Systems which recruits 14-16 students each year. Prof. Leithead’s research interests include modelling & simulation and dynamic analysis & control of wind energy systems. Originally the focus of this activity was on wind turbines but in recent years it has moved to being on the development of strategies, techniques and tools necessary to achieve fully flexible operation of large offshore wind farms to achieve reduced O&M costs and delivery of the full range of ancillary services. A further major research of Prof. Leithead is turbine conceptual design and novel concepts.

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Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 10:00am to 11:00am

Virtual Event

Persons with disabilities may submit a request for accommodations to participate in this event at UT Dallas' ADA website. You may also call (972) 883-5331 for assistance or send an email to All requests should be received no later than 2 business days prior to the event.

Event Type

Lectures & Workshops

Target Audience

Faculty & Staff, Graduate Students



Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

#ME, UTD Wind

Contact Information
Doreen Tracy
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