Constructive Summer 2019

(Dr) Ahmed Almoraya successfully defended his viva this month, meaning he can return home with his wife and son, deservedly proud of his achievements in Newcastle. A good chunk of his work was accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Applications the day before his viva – also available here . Some of his earlier presented work also came online this month. .

In fact, recently many of our research outputs were released open source via the IET’s Journal of Engineering, e.g. work on linear machines , in wheel motors , tidal machines and current source converters

In the lab, two machines are now ready for test – both involving some pretty unusual manufacturing techniques.

Probably the highlight of this quarter has to be travelling to San Diego to attend International Electrical Machines and Drive Conference IEMDC 2019. At least 11 people from Newcastle attended this event. I was involved in work presented on free piston engines, aerospace generators and automotive traction motors. Also hired an electric scooter, went on some fast runs and enjoyed some California IPA.

Plans are afoot to return to FloWave wave tank in Edinburgh to demonstrate all electric control of a wave energy device. After successful tests earlier in the year proved we could demonstrate fairly simple control, we look forward to some more representative test to demonstrate altering resonance. With help from two new friends from RMIT Melbourne (Elie Shami on hydrodynamics and our visiting researcher Luke McNab on modelling and control).

Recent STEM activity includes showcasing an old undergraduate student project on a self-balancing robot, and advising primary school children about building cranes.

I await with excitement the viva for another PhD student who has just successfully secured an electromagnetic modelling job in North Wales

Circle of life

I seem to have a student at every stage of a PhD at the moment! This month has seen one student submit a thesis, a second reach the pinnacle “light bulb” moment where the whole story of the thesis became apparent (to me at least), a third sitting his viva this week, a fourth well on the way to assembling a machine and a potential fifth having been awarded funding to enable starting late 2019. At one point I had 8 concurrent PhD students, so I can take all these developments in my stride.

A new journal publication about the effects of coil pressing got accepted for publication this month –” Life-time Characteristics of Random Wound Compressed Stator Windings under Thermal Stress” in IET Electric Power Applications.   First time in an IET journal for me. Hopefully it will get picked up by the research community, as it is packed full of experimental reliability results and makes some interesting points about the practicalities of coil pressing.

I am looking to expand my research base into carbon life cycles, end of life disposal of motors and bio-engineering. This means a heavy focus on proposal writing over the coming months.

Two machines are slowly making their way from the computer screens into the laboratory for testing. We are doing some work on the practicalities of using slot wedges, and also winding tape rather than round wire. Quite possibly my favourite part of the job: do these machines actually work in practice. Both of these will be tested towards the end of the summer I hope.

I haven’t done much STEM activity this month, apart from partaking in a campus wide science week activity. Hoping to get more done later this term, before schools break up for the summer


New Year’s resolutions

Successful research requires the right combination of facilities, insight, people and money all being available in the right place at the right time. I’ve managed this a few times in my career and I’ve been lucky over recent years….but the whole process is cyclical and I am entering a stage where I need to secure more funding in the coming months to continue. I was unlucky with funding late 2018, so in 2019 I am going to focus on new opportunities – I have 4 potential projects in the pipeline…fingers crossed  …I am also starting to recruit PhD students for September 2019 entry.


As semester two starts, so too does my annual teaching load. In January I taught my smallest ever cohort of MSc students – learning all their names by the end of the week, which resulted in a really nice teaching atmosphere. I have changed the focus of my undergraduate renewable energy course coursework to designing a 5 MW solar farm in the South of England. Interested to see how they get on.

Newcastle University is one of just a handful of Russell Group universities to be awarded the TEF gold award for teaching excellence. The next submission, which is due in 2020, is going to be subject specific. I have agreed to be part of the Engineering team responsible for helping deliver our TEF submission –  a so called TEF coordinator for Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering..


In the last week of January we took one of our linear machines up to the flowave wave tank at Edinburgh University. At small scale, we were able to demonstrate direct drive electrical power take off of a wave energy device, including bi directional power flow to control the oscillation. Exciting stuff! This marks the beginning of the end of our EPSRC funded EDRIVE project.

The latest machine we have started to build is a radial flux, external rotor Halbach array machine, and Iago, a hard working PhD student, is in the exciting phase of planning the build of this machine. Meanwhile January also saw the submission of Ahmed’s thesis – after months of analysing the data from one of our linear machines.


End of 2018

Of the 4 of my PhD students that completed in 2018, I managed to get (rid of) 2 of them at the same ceremony. Congratulations Mehmet and Liam!

Over this last year I have had more linear machines tested than at any point in my career…but always as a passive generator. For the first time we managed to get one of these machines hooked up to a bespoke voltage source inverter to act as a controlled actuator. Watch this space next year for exciting results.

We are continuing or work with Protean on electric vehicle traction motors, with Iago delivering his annual address to his industrial supporters.

We are at the exciting planning stage for our next round of motor builds. As always, I thinks its pretty useful to mock up assemblies for those hard-to-imagine machines. Here is a potential assembly plan for Halbach arrays

October/ November 2018 – papers papers papers!

Being an academic, you get gaps when you don’t have much teaching to do. I filled my last gap by getting 4 journal papers published and some really amazing progress in the labs. Many thanks to my co-authors and co-workers for making this happen.

The E-drive part of the EP lab is starting to get really exciting, as the power electronic converter finally gets to meet one of the linear machines we have recently comissioned. Once we have this working, we are going to use the Flo-Wave tank and couple the system to a scale wave energy converter. Even more Exciting!

Much of the linear work we have done over the last 12 months have recently been published in 3 IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion journal papers.




Plus this month our thermal work for aerospace has come on line in IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications


September 2018 – A lot of travelling

Conference season was in full a swing as I attended my final 2 conferences of 2018.


Hosted at Alexandroupli, Greece, the International Conference on Electrical machines was well attended by the Electrical Power Group, where we presented 9 papers.

Inlcuding 4 from my team

Lots of interesting work going on around the world in Vernier Hybrid machines, PM machine topologies and linear machine work. Really good conference.

The work we presented is here.

(Raihan has not really built a bread machine, but is claiming a new breed of machine)

Of course, would be rude to go to Greece and not have a quick look around.
RPG 2018
This year’s IET conference on renewable power generation was hosted by DTU in Copenhagan. We presented 3 pieces of work on tidal energ, linear machines and power converters. for a conference with a fairly narrow title, there was a wide range of topics presented.
I finally got to give a presentation on the work we have done on the economics of teh generator in the OpenHydro tidal stream device. Sadly, a few months after OpenHydro went into liquidation.
I also represented a poster on the feasibility of linear magnetic gears, co-written by colleagues in Edinburgh.
A couple of other pictures…





E3 Summer school

The E3 academy is a scheme that sponsors some of our birghtest UG students. It is a collaboration between 6 industrial partners and 3 universities. As well as giving students finacnial support and guaranteed vacation work, it also aims to build professional collaborations between colleagues of a similar age. As teh E3 tutor, I go every year to the annual summer schooo, which this year was held in Bangor. As well as visiting hte awe inspiring Dinowrig pump storage centre (, students where challenged with ‘reverse-engineering’ some products to get some experience in design.

Great scheme anda great summer school.

More details about E3 can be found here:

Some nice pictures of the summer school, including past and present scholars, are avaiblae on tehir facebook page






Visitor – Roberto Cardenas

We where happy to host a vistor from University of Chile, Prof Cardenas, to talk about control and testing of wave energy devices as part of our E Drive project. He was with us over 2 weeks and also visited our partners in Edinburgh University and Turbo Power Systems.

Of course, we couldn’t let him go without a night out.

More details about Prof Cardenas’ work can be found here