Student Profile: Matt Hall

Canadian PhD Student Matthew Hall Came to UMaine For Offshore Wind Research Efforts, Unique Facilities

Matt Hall is working towards his Ph.D. in offshore wind turbines at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center
Matt Hall is working towards his Ph.D. in offshore wind turbine technology at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center

Matthew Hall is pursuing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, conducting research at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center focused on modeling floating offshore wind turbines. Hall, originally from Windsor, Ontario, began studying engineering at the University of Prince Edward Island and received his MASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria. Hall chose UMaine for the strong research foundation in ocean-based energy and marine infrastructure.

“I was looking for a place to do my Ph.D. and UMaine was the place that stood out the most for their research on floating wind turbines,” Hall said.

In January of 2013, Hall visited the center to explore his options for his doctorate. He met with Dr. Habib Dagher, the center director, and began discussing his interests in offshore wind.

“We talked about my work and what was going on at the center. That settled my decision to do my Ph.D. here on floating wind turbine design.”

The VolturnUS floating offshore wind turbine design project was a perfect fit for Hall. His work on the project began with data analysis, and more recently he has worked on mooring line modeling and small-scale testing.

Hall’s test procedures will take advantage of the center’s latest expansion – the W2 – once the facility is operational. According to Hall, this facility, and the lab as a whole, is what makes the center stand out when compared to other research facilities and college campuses.

“It’s really unique to have a full-scale design project at a university. It’s one of the only ones going on in North America,” Hall said.

“The offshore wind program made me more aware of things like the certification requirements for offshore wind turbines and the different simulations you have to run with different environmental simulations. There are a lot of procedures to go through; there’s always something new that I’m learning.”

Working at the center has also exposed Hall to many of the experts in the field of offshore wind. Hall feels that this will prepare him for a future in this field.

“Working at the center has provided a lot of opportunities to collaborate with experts in the industry – developing working relationships is a big part of being effective in this kind of field. I get a taste of that here.”

Looking towards the future, Hall wants to stay in the field of renewable energy and is open to whatever that might entail.

“I want to work on renewable energy in some form. I’ll have a fair bit of background in offshore renewables, but I’m pretty open minded about what I do next. I’ll find an area where I can make a difference.”