Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre)

New Zealand's Centre of Excellence for Power Engineering. University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Dr Richard Strahan




Research Engineer

Ground Floor, ICT Building
phone: (03) 369 5907
mobile: 021 522 752
email: richard.strahan@epecentre.ac.nz

Dr Richard Strahan is a specialist in the field of motor design. He is as a consultant to electrical machine manufacturers helping with design and development of motors for a variety of applications. He has worked with a large European manufacturer on new brushless motor technology he has pioneered. He was awarded the IET 2006 Premium Award for Proceedings - Electric Power Applications for best annual paper in this leading journal. Richard also provides research & development expertise for the solution of electromagnetic problems such as actuators and sensors. His analytic ability and creativity are his strengths. Richard studied for the Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Canterbury from 1989 to 1992.  Immediately following this he completed his doctoral degree at the same University. The area of research was in the design of small motors with the Thesis title “Energy Conversion by Permanent Magnet Machines and Novel Development of the Single Phase Synchronous Permanent Magnet Motor”.

Richard has also held a post doctoral fellowship awarded by the Foundation for Research, Science & Technology at the University of Canterbury and has been an associate of the EPECentre for many years and joined the R&D team in 2009.


Recent Projects

In 2015, Richard secured a licensing deal for a single phase brushless motor technology he has developed, with the NZX listed motor manufacturer Wellington Drive Technologies Ltd: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/news/2015/deal-with-global-manufacturer-signed.html

Richard is a lead author of the Electricity Engineers’ Association publication Consultation draft: Guideline for the connection of small-scale inverter based distributed generation. This was launched at the EEA Conference in May 2016. The Guide is a major output of the GREEN Grid programme, and aims to provide standardized connection requirements and congestion assessment for distribution companies to apply across New Zealand. A finalized Guide has since been prepared which will be released after two key issues have been addressed by regulators.

Richard’s latest motor project has been the design and development of a three-phase permanent magnet brushless motor capable of operating at an ambient temperature of 320 degrees Celsius. This is being deployed in the geothermal industry. For this extreme motor design project the use of organic materials was essentially ruled out. The project did show, however, that it is possible to design a motor which can run at extremely high temperature. In fact, if it had been necessary, and without major modification, the motor could have been designed to operate at an ambient temperature of 520 degrees Celsius - sufficient to operate on the Venusian surface! For custom design & build of high temperature motors for geothermal, oil & gas, aerospace, nuclear, or industrial application please visit: