Sir Joseph Swan Centre for Energy Research

Staff Profile

Dr Nick Baker

Senior Lecturer

Background

Background

I am a Senior Lecturer within the Electrical Power research group of the School of Engineering, specialising in electrical machine design for unusual and emerging technologies. I have several industrially and publicly funded projects on electrical machine design, including modelling, fabrication and testing in the lab. Applications range from marine renewable energy, automotive to aerospace. The majority of research has been in permanent magnet machines, but also focus on low or no rare earth topologies in line with the present trend for cost reduction in many applications. My role varies from PhD supervisor, Principal Investigator or Electro mechanical modeller. I have quite a lot of experience and projects in the development of linear machines.

I joined Newcastle University as an RA in January 2011 to work on novel topology traction motors for electric vehicles,  became a member of academic staff in June 2012 and a Senior Lecturer in 2017.

I lecture in the area of Electrical Machines and Renewable Energy. Teaching responsibilities include General Electrical Machines,  Power/Grid Systems and Design of Machines and Drives. Other responsibilities include supervision of undergraduate and MSc projects, tutor for the E3 academy and involvement with student recruitment. I am the Deputy Director of Business and Engagement for the School of Engineering, and the Chair of the Board of Examiners for Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduate / post graduate degrees. 

My career started with a PhD in electrical machine design for marine renewable energy devices from Durham University in 2003(http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/696/) . After this, for 18 months I designed and built a 30kW low speed linear generator and test rig for the National Renewable Energy Centre - NaREC.

In 2005, I joined Lancaster University Renewable Energy Group as an Engineering lecturer for 3.5 years. Research interests here included power take off for wave energy, low head hydro electric power and development of linear generators. After securing research grants to fund 3 PhD students, I moved to Newcastle based energy consultancy TNEI in 2008. 

During my 2.5 years with TNEI, I was involved in several modelling aspects of wind farm development, including loss minimisation, grid connection and power flow, microwave interference, flicker, resource and noise prediction.

Qualifications

MEng(hons) in Mechanical Engineering
PhD (Durham)

Previous Positions

Senior Technical consultant (TNEI)
Lecturer (Lancaster University)
RA (Durham University)

Memberships

MIET CEng

STEM activities

I am really keen on getting more young people interested in Electrical Engineering, and try and get out to local schools at least twice a year. This is mostly via STEMNET but feel free to get in touch directly. I have run a workshop called 'build your own motor' to kids aged 8-13 at local schools, the MakerFaire and at the University.

Informal Interests

Cycling, swimming in lakes and playing with my three kids. I tend to do the Great North Run and/or Great North Swim every year, and presently own a rusty 1968 Triumph Vitesse. I am the local Beaver Leader and finally am nurturing a hobby of surfing. Some pictures available https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/nickbaker/ 



Research

Nick is a member of the Electrical Power research group. google scholar profile linked in profile

News available here https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/nickbaker/ 

My research specialises in electrical machine design and renewable energy. Managing around £2M of funding from industry, Innovate - UK and EPSRC in the areas of automotive, aerospace, free piston engines and renewable energy, straddling electrical machines and power converter research. I am one of the few UK academics with experience in linear machines, and have demonstrated numerous topologies at laboratory scale, integrated in applications and in a wave tank .

• Chartered engineer and an actively registered STEM ambassador on campus and throughout the North East.
• Graduated 15 PhD students


 Research Interests

My formal research interest is on electromagnetic design of novel topology electrical machines. I have worked on generators for aerospace, renewable energy, free piston engines and electric vehicles. Most of the machines I have worked on have used permanent magnets, either transverse flux machines or 2D flux topologies. I have a lot of experience on developing linear generators, including my own PhD and supervising 6 PhDs in this area.

I have a more general interest in engineering for sustainability and have previously published on and taught eco-design.

Within my research group, I am the theme leader for electrical machines research and renewable energy and sit on the School Energy group. I have worked on proposals with academics within MaST and Chemical Engineering, as well as within my own discipline. Many of my PhD students are in renewable energy and linear machines.  

In total I have authored/co-authored 20 journal and 90 conference articles - the majority of which are listed on the publications tab above. 

Other Expertise

Development of generators for slow speed renewable energy applications.

Using Soft Magnetic Composite to design 3 dimensional flux machines.

Linear electrical machines 

Grid integration of renewable energy.

Power systems analysis.

Numerical modelling and optimisation.

Current Work

I am currently working on a number of industrially and publically funded projects:

  • Soft Magnetic Composite to develop and build high torque electrical machines with inherent 3D flux patterns.
  • In wheel traction motor for electric vehicles. 
  • Linear machine development for free piston engines


I have PhD projects in linear generators for free piston engines, tidal energy, in wheel motor development and coil pressing. I manage RAs working on aerospace generators, actuators and wave energy generators.

I am presently or have recently managed the following projects in machine design, e.g.

  • Working with a local developer of high speed electric machines on improving efficiency - funded by Innovate UK,  RES/0537/7335, £300k, 
  • Working with wave energy company 'Mocean' on the generator in their 'Blue Star' device -Innovate UK
  • Working with SGTec on characterising iron loss in soft magnetic composites - Innovate UK / Driving Electric Revolution
  • Developing a flexible electric machine assembly line - Driving Electric Revolution - DER Centre North East - on   (DER/ RES/0537/ 7343/ 125) £2.8M
  • Marinisation and Upscaling of All Electric Drive Train (MUE-DRIVE) EPSRC,  EP/V040758/1, (£0.97M), with the aim of demonstrating direct drive generator technology in the North Sea by 2023
  • EPSRC: All Electric Drive train for Marine Energy Converters [EP/N021452/1], a £1.2m collaboration between Newcastle and Edinburgh universities to develop a robust power train (electrical machine and electronic converter) for wave energy converters;
  • AEMTA [Innovate UK 101795] a £5.5m collaboration aimed at building the UK’s capability in supplying the aerospace industry with electric machines over the next few decades [4];
  • ENCASE [Innovate UK 113145] a £17m collaboration where Dr Baker is responsible for delivering a number of innovations in the fault tolerant generator design which must be demonstrated at laboratory scale [5,6];
  • Australian Research Council funded consortium on the development of the power train for wave energy converters.

Current PhD Students (2021)

Ramin Korbekandi (Linear generator for free piston engine)

Lewis Chambers (Electrical machine for marine energy)

Farrel Asker (Power take off in a hinged wave energy converter)


Previous PhD Projects

M. Raihan (Linear generators for wave energy)

Ahmed Almoraya (Linear generators for wave energy)

Iago Martinez Ocaña (In wheel motor for electric vehicles) 

Liam Naugher (Tidal turbines)

Junnan Wang (Transverse flux machine for free piston engine)

Sichao Yang  (In wheel motors for electric vehicles)

Mehmet Kulan (Thermal improvement of electrical machines)

Aslan Jalal (Performance of direct drive free piston engines)

Current Research Staff

Dr Mehmet Kulan - ENCASE project on alternators for aerospace

Previous Research Staff

Dr Steve McDonald - Wave Energy -  Edrive project

Dr Steve Jordan High performance electric machines for aero space - The AEMTA project

Dr Juntao Shi Fault tolerant electric machines for aerospace - The AEMTA project

Esteem Indicators

In 2006 Nick was awarded the Donald Julius Groen prize by the IMechE for his work on direct drive linear generators for wave energy converters. I am a guest editor for special edition of Energies on PM machines for wave energy, and co-chair of the 2022 PEMD conference.

Teaching

Each academic year I am module leader for three modules at UG and MSc level, have four third year project students and eight first year tutees. I contribute to the Singapore immersion program and have provided material for two Singapore modules. I often supervise student projects on the faculty REFLEX program, as well as EEE8107 ECAD and the 3rd year engineering study project.

I am the university contact for, and sit on the management committee of, the E3 academy, an IET supported organisation for getting UG students industrial sponsorship.

I am the second year tutor for undergraduates studying Electrical / Electronic Engineering degrees. I am subject lead for electrical engineering in the TEF and am Deputy Director of Business and Engagement in the School of Engineering.


I chair the Board of Examiners for all Electrical / Electroinic UG and PG courses.

I am module leader for: 

EEE3021 & EEE8157 Renewable Energy and the smart Grid (3rd / 4th year)

I also contribute to ENG1002

 I have previously been module leader for

SPG8004 Grid Systems (Msc in Renewable Energy)

SPG8006 Wind and Hydropower (Msc in Renewable Energy)

 Electrical Machines (3rd year) 

EEE8015 and EEE8102  Design of Machines and Drives (MSc, 4th year MEng)

I have run 3rd year projects on the design of self balancing robots, the development of renewable energy, linear generators, more electric aircraft, measurement and prediction of electrical machine losses, tidal turbines, power steering and many others.


Publications