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Award-winning research improves wind power reliability

Media release

A Curtin University researcher who has improved the reliability of wind-generated energy entering the grid was recently awarded the prestigious John Madsen Medal by Engineers Australia.

Professor Syed Islam, Director of Curtin Centre for Smart Grid and Sustainable Power Systems co-authored the research paper with Mansour Mohseni of Power Systems Consultants, which was named best paper published in the 2011 Australian Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Together they introduced a system to ensure wind energy generated by turbines is contributing continuous energy to the grid, overcoming the common problem of power supply being interrupted by electrical faults.   

“The Australian Grid Code states that wind turbines need to remain in an uninterrupted operation, and if electrical faults are not over-ridden within milliseconds, the power source will be disconnected from the grid,” Professor Islam said.

“While wind energy is the most cost-effective renewable technology available, disturbances and different voltage sag and swell periods often cause the energy source to fall below the Australian Grid Code requirements, even when using the best wind energy conversion system technology.”

To alleviate this problem in wind energy conversion system technology, the team replaced the standard current regulator which often responds sluggishly to changes in voltage, to an enhanced vector controller, proven to perform steadily in various operating conditions.

“What we proposed in this research has helped wind turbine manufacturers meet the regulations and compete in the Australian energy market, keeping us on track for the government’s 20 per cent target by 2020,” he said.

Professor Islam said he was very honoured and humbled to have his research efforts recognised through the John Madsen Medal, which has led to other ventures for developing wind energy technology and receiving other awards including WA Power Engineer of the Year.

He said more projects in the field of vector controllers are on the horizon, with one of his students looking to improve the technology further this year. 

The medal honours the memory of Sir John Madsen who was Foundation Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sydney from 1920 to 1949. Among many other achievements, Sir John Madsen proposed the founding of a Radio Research Board and was a leader in the development of radar in Australia.

The award-winning paper, Enhanced vector control of doubly-fed induction generator based wind turbines to comply with the Australian Grid Code requirements, can be downloaded from the informit website at http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=827411016649854;res=IELENG

Contact:
Professor Syed Islam, Director of Curtin Centre for Smart Grid and Sustainable Power Systems
Tel: 08 9266 7680, Email: s.islam@curtin.edu.au

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email: megan.meates@curtin.edu.au