Dr Alasdair McDonald

Senior Lecturer

Electronic and Electrical Engineering

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.


Optimisation of design and operation of generators for offshore vertical axis wind turbines
Argent Michael, McDonald Alasdair, Giles Alexander
Wind Energy Vol 22, pp. 1324-1342 (2019)
Optimization of offshore direct drive wind turbine generators with consideration of permanent magnet grade and temperature
Bhuiyan Nurul Azim, McDonald Alasdair
IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion Vol 34, pp. 1105-1114 (2019)
Comparison of anomaly detection techniques for wind turbine gearbox SCADA data
Mckinnon C, Carroll J, McDonald A, Koukoura S, Soraghan C
Wind Energy Science Conference 2019 (2019)
Lightweight design of direct-drive wind turbine electrical generators : a comparison between steel and composite material structures
Jaen-Sola Pablo, McDonald Alasdair S, Oterkus Erkan
Ocean Engineering Vol 181, pp. 330-341 (2019)
Optimisation of additively manufactured permanent magnets for wind turbine generators
McGarry Connor, McDonald Alasdair, Alotaibi Nasser
International Electrical Machines and Drives Conference 2019, pp. 656-663 (2019)
Machine learning in wind turbine O&M
Mckinnon Conor, Carroll James, McDonald Alasdair, Koukoura Sofia
Future Wind and Marine (2019)

more publications


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


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 

Professional activities

European Academy of Wind Energy (External organisation)
Sergio Martín-Martínez
Seifeddine Benelghali
13th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (Event)
Editorial board member
Estefania Artigao
UK & China Centre Offshore Renewable Energy (External organisation)

more professional activities


ELEMENT (Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy)
McDonald, Alasdair (Principal Investigator) Yue, Hong (Principal Investigator) McDonald, Alasdair (Co-investigator) Payne, Gregory (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2022
ELEMENT (Effective Lifetime Extension in the Marine Environment for Tidal Energy)
McDonald, Alasdair (Principal Investigator) Yue, Hong (Principal Investigator) McDonald, Alasdair (Co-investigator) Payne, Gregory (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2022
EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Wind and Marine Energy Systems and Structures
Leithead, Bill (Principal Investigator) Brennan, Feargal (Co-investigator) Carroll, James (Co-investigator) Kolios, Athanasios (Co-investigator) McDonald, Alasdair (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 30-Jan-2027
Future electrical Machines Manufacturing Hub (EPSRC Manufacturing Research Hub)
Ward, Michael (Principal Investigator) McDonald, Alasdair (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2022
KTP - Turner Iceni
Carroll, James (Principal Investigator) McDonald, Alasdair (Co-investigator) McMillan, David (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 31-Jan-2021
Investigation on Joint Modelling and Fatigue Stress Coordination Control of Power Take-Off for Offshore Wind Turbo Generation System
McDonald, Alasdair (Principal Investigator)
20-Jan-2019 - 19-Jan-2021

more projects


Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Royal College Building

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