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Dr. Breiffni Fitzgerald
Ussher Assistant Professor, Civil Struct & Env. Eng.

Biography

Dr Breiffni Fitzgerald received the B.A.I. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil and Structural Engineering from Trinity College Dublin in 2009 and 2013, respectively. He was a Research Fellow with Trinity College Dublin from 2013 to 2014 and a Lecturer with the Technological University of Dublin from 2015 to 2016. He is currently an Ussher Assistant Professor in Energy in the School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin.

His research interests include wind turbine aerodynamics and structural dynamics, dynamics and damping of structures, wind engineering, vibration control, and control theory. He has received funding to work in these areas from Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council, Enterprise Ireland, H2020, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and industry partners.

Dr Fitzgerald is a Chartered Engineer of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. He has been appointed by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) as a technical expert for the development of Structural Eurocode EN 1991-1-4: Wind loads. Dr Fitzgerald has also been appointed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to serve as Ireland's international expert on Wind Farm Control.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Hollie Moore, Brian Broderick and Breiffni Fitzgerald, Experimental and computational evaluation of modal identification techniques for structural damping estimation, International Conference on Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2022 Conference Paper, 2022 DOI TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerald, A Review of Rapid Distortion Theory, Greener, 2022 Conference Paper, 2022 DOI TARA - Full Text

John Hickey, Brian Broderick, Breiffni Fitzgerald, Hollie Moore, Mitigation of Wind Induced Accelerations in Tall Modular Buildings , Structures, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 TARA - Full Text DOI

Hollie Moore, Brian Broderick, Breiffni Fitzgerald, Vincent Barrett, Shane Linehan, Model Validation for the Wind Response of Modular High-Rise Buildings through Full Scale Monitoring, Civil Engineering Research in Ireland, 2022 Conference Paper, 2022 TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerald and Saptarshi Sarkar, Fluid inerter for optimal vibration control of floating offshore wind turbine towers, Engineering Structures, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI TARA - Full Text

Shubham Baisthakur and Breiffni Fitzgerald, A study of wind-wave misalignment for the Irish coastline and its effect on the wind turbine response, Civil Engineering Research in Ireland, Dublin, 2022 Conference Paper, 2022 URL TARA - Full Text

Sudipta Lal Basu, Kirk Soodhalter, Breiffni Fitzgerald, and Biswajit Basu, Flow in a large wind field with multiple actuators in the presence of constant vorticity, Physics of Fluids, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 TARA - Full Text DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Nonlinear model predictive control to reduce pitch actuation of floating offshore wind turbines, IFAC-PapersOnLine, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Fault Prediction and Classification for a Doubly-Fed Induction Generator based Wind Turbine by using Random Forest Classifier, The 9th Renewable Power Generation Conference, 2021 Conference Paper, 2021 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Use of Kane's Method for Multi-Body Dynamic Modelling and Control of Spar-Type Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, Energies, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Individual Blade Pitch Control of Floating Offshore Wind Turbines for Load Mitigation and Power Regulation, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI TARA - Full Text URL

Breiffni Fitzgerald, An Assessment of the Potential for Co-located Offshore Wind and Wave Farms in Ireland, Energy, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Vibration Control of Wind Turbines: Recent Advances and Emerging Trends, International Journal of Sustainable Materials and Structural Systems, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI TARA - Full Text

Saptarshi Sarkar, Lin Chen, Breiffni Fitzgerald and Biswajit Basu, Multi-resolution wavelet pitch controller for spar-type floating offshore wind turbines including wave-current interactions, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 470 (2020) 115170, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text URL DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, A Comparison of Soil Structure Interaction Models for Dynamic Analysis of Offshore Wind Turbines, The Science of Making Torque from Wind (TORQUE 2020), Delft, the Netherlands, 2020 Conference Paper, 2020 TARA - Full Text DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Tuned mass-damper-inerter (TMDI) for suppressing edgewise vibrations of wind turbine blades, Engineering Structures, 221, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI TARA - Full Text

Magneto-rheological Tuned Liquid Column Dampers to Improve Reliability of Wind Turbine Towers in, Advances in Rotor Dynamics, Control, and Structural Health Monitoring, Singapore, Springer, 2020, pp467 - 496, [Breiffni Fitzgerald] Book Chapter, 2020 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Vibration control of spar‐type floating offshore wind turbine towers using a tuned mass‐damper‐inerter, Structural Control and Health Monitoring, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 DOI TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Andrea Staino,and Biswajit Basu, Wavelet‐based individual blade pitch control for vibration control of wind turbine blades, Structural Control and Health Monitoring, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 DOI TARA - Full Text

A. Staino, R. Abou-Eid, A. Rojas, B. Fitzgerald, B. Basu , Health Monitoring and Aging Assessment of HVAC Refrigerant Compressors in Railway Systems, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference (ITSC), Auckland, NZ, October 2019, 2019, pp2177 - 2182 Conference Paper, 2019 DOI

David Igoe, Luke Prendergast, Breiffni Fitzgerald and Saptarshi Sarkar, Numerical modelling of a monopile for estimating the natural frequency of an offshore wind turbine, China - Europe Conference on Geotechnical Engineering, Vienna, August 2018, 2018 Conference Paper, 2018 DOI TARA - Full Text

Saptarshi Sarkar, Breiffni Fitzgerald, Biswajit Basu, Development of a Flexible Multibody Dynamics Wind Turbine Model following Kane's Method, Civil Engineering Research in Ireland, Dublin, August 2018, 2018 Conference Paper, 2018 TARA - Full Text

David Igoe, Breiffni Fitzgerald and Saptarshi Sarkar, Monopile soil-structure interaction for estimating the dynamic response of an offshore wind turbine, Civil Engineering Research in Ireland, Dublin, August 2018, 2018 Conference Paper, 2018 TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerlad, Saptarshi Sarkar and Andrea Staino, Improved reliability of wind turbine towers with active tuned mass dampers (ATMDs), Journal of Sound and Vibration, Volume 419, 2018, p103 - 122 Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Breiffni Fitzgerald and Biswajit Basu, A monitoring system for wind turbines subjected to combined seismic and turbulent aerodynamic loads, Structural Monitoring and Maintenance, 4, (2), 2017, p175 - 194 Journal Article, 2017 DOI URL

Saptarshi Sarkar, Breiffni Fitzgerald, Biswajit Basu and Arunasis Chakraborty, MAGNETO-RHEOLOGICAL TUNED LIQUID COLUMN DAMPERS TO IMPROVE RELIABILITY OF WIND TURBINE TOWERS, 13th International Conference on Vibration Problems, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India, 29/11/2017, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017 URL TARA - Full Text

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Biswajit Basu, Structural control of wind turbines with soil structure interaction included, Engineering Structures, 111, 2016, p131-151 Journal Article, 2016 URL DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald and Biswajit Basu, DYNAMICS OF ONSHORE WIND TURBINES WITH SOIL STRUCTURE INTERACTION, 2015 Conference Paper, 2015

Breiffni Fitzgerald and Biswajit Basu, Cable connected active tuned mass dampers for control of in-plane vibrations of wind turbine blades, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 333, (23), 2014, p5980 - 6004 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald and Biswajit Basu, Active tuned mass damper control of wind turbine nacelle/tower vibrations with damaged foundations, Key Engineering Materials, 569-570, 2013, p560 - 567 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, Biswajit Basu and Søren R.K. Nielsen, Active tuned mass dampers for control of in-plane vibrations in wind turbine blades, Journal of Structural Control and Health Monitoring, 20, (12), 2013, p1377-1396 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Breiffni Fitzgerald, John Arrigan and Biswajit Basu, Damage detection in wind turbine blades using time-frequency analysis of vibration signals, The 2010 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN), IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence, Barcelona, Spain, 18-23 July 2010, IEEE, 2010, pp1-5 Conference Paper, 2010 DOI

Research Expertise

Projects

  • Title
    • Machine Learning for Wind Farm Aerodynamics and Control (MeLodiC)
  • Summary
    • In the current state-of-the-art, each turbine in a wind farm is controlled to maximise its own individual performance, ignoring the effect that the turbine has on the other turbines in the wind farm - this is a sub-optimal approach. MeLodiC will develop new wind farm models taking aerodynamic wake interaction effects into account. These new models will be used to develop novel wind farm controllers with the goal of holistically optimizing wind farm power production. Advanced control algorithms will be integrated with powerful machine learning techniques (using high performance computing) to adaptively 'learn' the best way to control wind farms.
  • Funding Agency
    • Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
  • Date From
    • 1 December 2021
  • Title
    • Next Generation Energy Systems (NexSys)
  • Summary
    • NexSys targets the development of new multi energy system models across a variety of sectors. The Energy system represented by the electricity and gas infrastructure are central components to be modelled on a variety of spatial and temporal scales. The integrated energy system models will consider the supporting strands of Water, Transport, Offshore Wind and Cities and Communities. Each of which will both develop research within their own domains and link directly into the Energy System. Mathematical modelling and optimisation are at the core of NexSys aiming to reveal insights into the nature and behaviour of energy infrastructure with a transdisciplinary focus targeting the highly relevant cross-cutting themes of climate, data, society, and finance. Pathways towards the achievement of net Zero carbon energy system underpinned by detailed physical modelling accompanied by the development of new technologies in each domain will be critical aim of the programme.
  • Funding Agency
    • Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)
  • Title
    • Data Driven Digital Twin of Wind Farm (TwinFarm)
  • Summary
    • TwinFarm will utilize data driven modelling, real-time monitoring techniques, and the fundamental physics governing wind farms to develop digital twins of wind farms. The TwinFarm research programme will progress the state-of-the-art by developing realistic data-driven wind farm models accounting for turbulent interacting wakes and coupling these with real-time monitoring approaches to balance the loading across a farm and thus improve availability and fatigue life. Using our approach we will achieve realistic and close to real-world outputs from our models without the computational effort of full dynamics models. This will allow our wind farm models to run in real-time and will provide wind farms with a powerful tool for wind farm monitoring, maintenance and management. TwinFarm's novel unified, holistic methodology will improve wind farm performance, prevent costly failures/downtime and predict fatigue loads across an operational wind farm. This is a low cost, low risk and high reward project that can provide impact for industry, particularly the Irish wind farm sector which relies on aging wind turbine infrastructure. The TwinFarm research programme would complement the work envisaged in the SEAI defined topics 7 (End of life wind turbines: Life extension, decommissioning or repowering) and 15 (Remote and autonomous inspection and maintenance of onshore and offshore wind turbines) for a small additional cost. Successful completion of the project would essentially lead to a software upgrade for the existing fleet of Irish wind farms that would be very helpful for the industry and the country at a crucial time in our renewable energy journey.
  • Funding Agency
    • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
  • Date From
    • 1 January 2022
  • Date To
    • 31 December 2024
  • Title
    • A comprehensive decision support tool for end-of-life wind turbines of Ireland; Lifetime Extension, Decommissioning, Repowering, Repurposing [WindLEDeRR]
  • Summary
    • Wind turbines are normally designed for 20 years lifetime. In Ireland, there will be a significant number of onshore wind turbines reaching their end-of-life (500 turbines by 2025 and 1000 by 2030). There are generally three options for wind plants at end-of-life: life extension, decommissioning and repowering. This project will develop a comprehensive decision-making tool for end-of-life wind turbines in Ireland through life assessment for the critical components of wind turbines including foundation, tower and blades. A holistic structural dynamic models of wind turbines will be developed using a multi-body approach which accounts for the aeroelastic behaviour of the wind turbines employing Irish meteorological conditions. Cutting-edge structural health monitoring techniques will be developed for lifetime extension of wind turbines. Novel approaches will be developed for anomaly detection and fatigue assessment of the tower structure through smart advanced identification methods. In addition, a new methodology will be developed for predicting remaining fatigue life and residual strength of wind turbines' blades periodically until their end-of-life. Lifecycle assessment of foundations will be developed which will provide a set of recommendation outlining options for the foundation to include remaining operational life. Furthermore, a range of energetic, environmental, social and economic factors will be considered in order to arrive at optimal solutions for sustainable decommissioning of end-of-life wind turbines in Ireland. Finally, a new protocol will be developed for repurposing decommissioned blades for specific purposes. The results will form the most authoritative evidence base around the topic for Ireland and will be an international benchmark.
  • Funding Agency
    • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
  • Date From
    • 1 January 2022
  • Date To
    • 31 December 2024
  • Title
    • Remote-Wind
  • Summary
    • REMOTE-WIND uses instrumented air and water-borne drones, with non-contact measurement through short-wave infra-red multi-point Laser Doppler Vibrometry (SWIR-LDV) for bespoke autonomous inspection and monitoring of onshore/offshore wind turbines to assess their lifetime safety and serviceability performance and take better decisions around maintenance, repowering and decommissioning. It creates a first benchmark of its kind, aligned to current wind energy targets and future aspirations of Ireland. The project assimilates fundamental physics, sensors, robotics and cutting-edge analytics to create scientific insights and translates them to technology and commercial practice. REMOTE-WIND will carry out full-scale demonstrations for onshore and offshore farms, venturing significantly beyond laboratory tests and small academic exercises. It will create extensive guidelines and recommendations, along with a suite of software tools for industrial adoption these solutions for their needs, allowing for the evolution of these tools with changing performance demands of future wind turbines. The results from this project will de-risk the wind energy sector, lower Operations and Maintenance costs leading to improvement in Levelized Cost of Electricity and improve Health and Safety of inspection workers. It will also create critical and demonstrative evidence base for such monitoring to be commercially carried out in Ireland. REMOTE-WIND will be transformative in terms of how maintenance is carried out for these turbines and positively impact their annual maintenance contract terms, leading to better support of Irish businesses. It will establish monitoring at the core of renewable energy policy and provide Irish thought leadership globally in this niche and strongly bourgeoning sector.
  • Funding Agency
    • Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
  • Date From
    • 1 January 2022
  • Date To
    • 31 December 2024
  • Title
    • Enhanced Controllers for Wind Farms
  • Summary
    • This project will model, develop and experimentally test novel wind farm controllers that will improve the efficiency of the existing fleet of Irish wind farms accounting for turbulent effects in the wake. The effects of rapidly changing wake aerodynamics due to turbulence will be considered in the wind farm models and controllers. The project will simulate, in real-time, the interaction of the controlled wind farms with the Irish electrical grid and will demonstrate increased wind farm energy yield from the existing fleet of Irish wind farms. The impact of the developed controllers on O&M strategies for wind farms will also be investigated. Traditionally the power output of each turbine in a wind farm is controlled independently. In this project novel controllers will be developed utilising hardware already installed on the wind turbines (i.e. yaw controllers, pitch controllers, torque controllers and power electronic devices) and they will cooperate with each other to optimise the wind farm's overall performance rather than optimising each turbine's individual performance. This project will simulate and study various wind turbine and wind farm scenarios in a real time system. The new controllers will be modelled and demonstrated using authentic wind farm data from real wind farms. The aim of the project is to increase the efficiency of Ireland's existing fleet of wind farms to obtain increased wind farm energy yield, increased wind turbine availability and longer wind farm life due to enhanced O&M practices.
  • Funding Agency
    • SEAI
  • Date From
    • 1 December 2018
  • Date To
    • 1 December 2021
  • Title
    • Control and Power Take-off Optimization for WRAM (CAPTOW)
  • Summary
    • The WRAM is a powerful, single-bodied heaving buoy point absorber with a pneumatic PTO, intended for utility-scale arrays in deep-water ocean sites. The main CAPTOW objective is to optimise the control algorithms and PTO systems, backed by empirical tests. Simulations will predict performance, loads and forces, and are being validated by tank tests with true scale models. Key Deliverables - Predicted performance, loads and forces from WEC-Sim, CFX, RANSE and SPH solvers validated by tank tests. - Assessment of RANSE and SPH solvers. - Control algorithms developed and tested using real-time hybrid systems test rig. - Prototype PTO system designed, built and tested. - Techno-economic evaluation and estimated LCOE.
  • Funding Agency
    • European Commission
  • Date From
    • 03-07-2017
  • Date To
    • 31-12-2021
  • Title
    • Development of damping parameters for Irish Offshore Wind Farms
  • Summary
    • In order to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions targets set out in the Paris agreement, Ireland will need to significantly decarbonise its energy supply. Due to reducing costs, offshore wind now offers the most viable means for large scale decarbonisation of Irelands electricity supply by 2030. It is predicted that the offshore wind installation rate in Europe will increase 400% resulting in an industry worth more than €20 Billion per year in Europe alone. In Ireland, it is estimated that 1.8GW of offshore wind capacity at an estimated cost of ~€4.5 billion, will be installed by 2030. One of the key challenges in the engineering design of an Offshore Wind Turbine (OWT) relates to choosing appropriate values for damping of the OWT structure. Choosing more realistic values of damping in design can lead to significant reductions in the calculated loads acting on the structure, and also large reductions in fatigue damage, which can lead to savings of up to 10% in steel weight across the structure. In the Irish context this would equate to potential cost savings of ~€230m by 2030 (assuming 1.8GW of offshore wind is developed) and in excess of €1 billion per year across Europe. The primary goal of this project is to advance the scientific knowledge of OWT damping and provide accurate and realistic damping values for use in the design of Irish offshore wind farms, specific to soil types and conditions relevant for potential offshore wind development zones around Ireland.
  • Funding Agency
    • SEAI
  • Date From
    • December 2019
  • Date To
    • December 2022

Keywords

ACTIVE CONTROL; Civil Engineering; CONTROL SYSTEMS; Integration of Renewable Energy Systems; Renewable energy; Smart Cities; Soil Mechanics & Foundations; Structural Design; Structural Dynamics; Structural Engineering; WIND; Wind Energy and Wind Turbines; Wind, Wind Energy Engineering

Recognition

Representations

Engineers Ireland - Structures & Construction Committee Member 2015-

Institute of Structural Engineers - Ireland Branch Committee Member 2015-

Awards and Honours

Institute of Structural Engineers (IStructE) Student Prize 2010

Collen Prize in Engineering 2009

Gold Medal, Trinity College Dublin 2009

Irish Research Council Award 2009

Master in Arts (jure officii) November 2021

Memberships

Engineers Ireland, Chartered Engineer (CEng) 2007