Northumbria University

Location: North East


Northumbria University is a research-intensive, modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Northumbria is ranked in the top 25 in the UK for research power, according to the results of the latest Research Excellence Framework.

Northumbria’s electrical power and control systems research group is an internationally recognised multidisciplinary research group, which undertakes cutting edge research in renewable energy (wind/wave/PV), power electronics, electric vehicles, battery charging, electric machines and drives, power system management and optimisation, advanced control theory and methods, autonomous driving, robotic systems, and artificial intelligence for engineering applications.

Key strengths and unique capabilities

  • Smart, clean energy and electric vehicles and prototype smart electric vehicle (EV) charger
  • Power converters for renewable energy systems, including power converter for power over ethernet system, bidirectional 1kW DC-DC converter for energy storage system, stability analysis and control of power converters for EVs, 50KW highly compact power DC/DC converter for low carbon vehicles
  • Control for power converters and control applications for marine and energy systems, including sliding mode control, robust control, model predictive control, optimisation-based control, co-design, adaptive control, deep learning based control  
  • Communication architecture and techniques to support cyber physical systems 
  • Real-time control for robotic systems, including remote surgery, industrial automation, robotic arm control and teleoperation 
  • Dynamics and control for vehicular systems and autonomous driving, including autonomous trajectory tracking, interactive decision making and motion control, human-like automated vehicle control.
  • Dynamic modelling, sensor/sensor-less control and variable speed applications of: 4-quadrant DC drives, 3-phase cage induction motor drives, doubly-fed induction motor and generator (DFIG) systems, brushless doubly-fed reluctance motors and/or generators (BDFRG) 
  • Wind energy conversion systems using permanent magnet or electrically-excited synchronous generators, DFIGs or emerging BDFRGs technologies under normal and/or faulty (unbalanced) operating conditions, including grid integration issues (eg. frequency support, low voltage fault ride through
  • Next generation wide bandgap power modules and wireless power transfer techniques: reliability, condition monitoring and health measurement of wide bandgap (WBG) device. Wireless power sharing using GaN 
  • Information and communication technologies for smart grid: multi-disciplinary research on communication infrastructures and more secure cyber-security schemes for power grids, multi-disciplinary research involving communication and power systems, management of power and communication systems accounting for system imperfections 
  • Optimization and control (smart grid, renewable energy, building): combined cooling, heating and power systems, distributed energy systems for buildings, low carbon campus based on ecological footprint evaluation and machine learning, optimisation of ground source heat pump system based on response surface method and the NSGA II algorithm, building load forecasting model, innovative operational strategy and its application in ground source heat pump 
  • Precise time synchronisation in wireless sensor network and synchronized data acquisition for time-critical systems, precision timing for the future of intelligent electrical power and energy systems, wide area monitoring and control, condition monitoring, distributed signal processing, smart charging for EV. 

Northumbria has been involved in the research and development of photovoltaics (PV) for more than 20 years. Their main research themes are the development of new solar cells using compound semiconductors formed from abundant and sustainable elements; the use of nanostructures to replace or improve existing technologies; the assessment of PV system performance and improvements in system design and operation; the integration of PV systems into the electricity network; and environmental impact assessment of the manufacture and use of PV systems.


Northumbria University’s rapid prototyping service combines a range of 3D printing solutions with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and conventional machining capabilities.  

This kit allows designs to be realised and prototypes to be produced for marketing and functional testing, reducing product development costs and prototype cycle times. A mechanical design service is offered to augment the 3D rapid prototyping service. 

Testing of prototype structures, samples, components and products to explore failure modes, acceptance testing and define design rules.

This includes a range of test systems that measure mechanical strength and failure due to stress, fatigue, fracture, impact and corrosion, as well as environmental chamber testing with temperature and humidity cycling.

Single sample to large scale industrial test programmes can be defined. A full data and post-mortem analysis service is available that can include finite element modelling to help understand the failure modes and lead to improved designs.

This also includes design and delivery of bespoke test systems and test rigs for specialist testing and highly accelerated lifetime test (HALT) programmes.

This includes portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing that is particularly useful for determining the chemical composition of materials.

XRF surveying is useful for identification, measurement and mapping of chemical contamination of soils and fluids.

This also includes mobile air quality measurement and monitoring systems which can be used for occupational hygiene surveys and at major incidents.

Northumbria’s extensive surveying and scanning capability include: LIDAR, photogrammetry and infrared scanning.

This kit can survey and scan buildings, structures, facilities and rooms to provide accurate structural representations and monitor changes, as well as surveying heat loss and advising on remedial solutions.

Our acoustic reverberation time analysis service characterises a room’s acoustic performance. We can advise on how to improve a room’s acoustics so that it best meets its intended use.

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