Ajit C Pillai

Project title: Offshore Wind Farm Layout Optimisation

Company/Organisation: EDF Energy R&D UK Centre

Industrial supervisor: Vincent De Laleu

Academic supervisors: Dr John Chick (University of Edinburgh), Dr Lars Johanning (University of Exeter), Dr Mahdi Khorasanchi (University of Strathclyde)

Programme start: September 2012

Industrial Project start: June 2013

Educational background

I graduated from Columbia University in the city of New York with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2011. I then completed a MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh in September 2012.

What were you doing prior to this programme?

I was completing my MSc at The Unviersity of Edinburgh.

What attracted you to studying with IDCORE?

During the dissertation phase of my MSc degree I made the decision to pursue a research degree following the completion of the MSc. The IDCORE programme therefore seemed as an appealing choice as it integrated the research experience of a traditional PhD with real industrial experience in the industry. I felt given that I was unsure if I wanted to go into academia or industry following my doctorate that this offered the best compromise and experience to prepare me for either.

What attracted you to offshore renewables industry?/ What aspects of the industry do you find most inspiring, interesting or important for the future?

The offshore renewables industry appealed to me as it is a rapidly growing industry with unique challenges as compared to onshore renewables or conventional power generation. The most important challenge facing the industry as a whole is reducing the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) such that these energy sources are competitive.

Main responsibilities and challenges as a Research Engineer

My project within the EDF Energy R&D UK Centre’s Offshore Wind team focuses on developing a tool to allow for the optimisation of an offshore wind farm layout such that the LCOE is minimised, and the wind farm is maximising its potential. The greatest challenge of this project has been to identify the factors that contribute to the LCOE and means of modelling these. However, as the project includes a global optimisation problem it is important to always keep the trade-off between model accuracy and computational time.

What ambition would you like to fulfil as a Research Engineer?

As this project covers almost all aspects of the development of a wind farm I hope that the work done on this project will advance my understanding of offshore wind farms and offshore renewable energy systems. Through the gain of this knowledge it is the ambition of this project to develop a tool which can be used in conjunction with both EDF internal cost modelling and resource assessment tools to support decision making and planning of future offshore wind projects.

Experience with IDCORE so far

So far the IDCORE programme has been an enjoyable experience and has met my expectations. I am looking forward to getting deeper into the research phase.

Ajit C Pillai, IDCORE Research Engineer
Ajit C Pillai, IDCORE Research Engineer

Programme start date: 

September, 2012

Programme Partner: 

Industrial Partner: