Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu honoured for pioneering electrical machines

Image of Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu with the IEEE Nikola Tesla award

Congratulations to Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu, who has been awarded the prestigious 2021 IEEE Nikola Tesla Award in recognition of his work to develop more energy efficient electrical machines and drives.

Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu from the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering has won the 2021 IEEE Nikola Tesla Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the generation and utilisation of electric power. 

The IEEE - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The Nikola Tesla Award is named in honour of Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer and a pioneer in many fields, who is most renowned for the development of the ac induction motor.

Professor Zhu has been honoured with the award for his contributions to the design, modeling, control and application of ac permanent magnet machines and drives - components that are key to electrification.

His research has driven major advances in electronic and electrical engineering by pioneering new, high performance electrical machines and drives that are having a huge impact on a wide range of technologies, such as electric vehicles, wind power generators, automation systems and domestic electrical appliances.

The new machines and drives are more energy efficient and so being harnessed to develop more energy efficient electrical machines in order to reduce the UK’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

This is a recognition of not only my personal research achievement, but also the strength of electrical engineering research at Sheffield.

Professor Zi-Qiang Zhu

Professor Zhu’s research has already been commercially exploited by major global companies such as Siemens, Midea, Toyota, Nissan and Valeo.

On receiving the IEEE Nikola Tesla Award, Professor Zhu said: “It is a great honour to receive the most prestigious IEEE award in our technical field. This is a recognition of not only my personal research achievement, but also the strength of electrical engineering research at Sheffield. It confirms that the Electrical Machines and Drives Research Group at the University of Sheffield is the global leader in research and development on permanent magnet machines and drives, with applications ranging from electric vehicles, more electric aircraft, fast train propulsion, automation systems, and domestic appliances to renewable energy.”

Professor Zhu, a Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, is the Head of the Electrical Machines and Drives (EMD) Research Group at the University of Sheffield, which is a recognised world leader in pioneering research on permanent magnet machines and drives.

The group is renowned for its research that is enabling technologies that are vital to the future of electrical power engineering. Past work with Siemens Gamesa includes developing novel high reliability, high efficiency, high power density direct-drive permanent magnet generators which helped the company to achieve its goal to be the market leader in offshore wind power.

The EMD Group and Siemens Gamesa are currently leading a UK government funded Prosperity Partnership to address fundamental research problems which will help to reduce the cost of electricity from offshore wind.