Matt Hall
wind and marine renewable energy

My research activities at UPEI divide into two categories: design and modelling of wind and marine renewable energy devices, and analysis towards realizing a more sustainable energy system (more details on the research page). This work gets done in collaboration with graduate and undergraduate students and other researchers here and abroad. For physical testing, we have a wave tank and various actuation and measurement equipment in the SSDE sustainable energy centre of excellence.

Research activities and capabilities include: ~ design and analysis of floating structures ~ aero-servo-elastic modelling of wind turbines ~ parametric design optimization ~ hardware-in-the-loop testing ~ wave tank testing ~ energy systems modelling

Research Group

The group is beginning to form and new additions are in the works. We also work with collaborating researchers at UPEI and around the world.

Kellen Devries

Kellen is a second year engineering student in the SSDE and works for Dr. Matt Hall as an undergraduate researcher. His primary research focus is the numerical modeling of friction between the seabed and the mooring chains of floating offshore wind turbines.

Patrick Connolly

Patrick is an undergraduate physics student at UPEI. He works as a student research assistant, studying the usefulness of shared mooring lines in floating offshore wind turbine farms and how they could affect farm cost and stability. Through numerical simulations, he investigates the dynamic effects of connecting multiple floating offshore wind turbines in different arrangements using different mooring systems.

Crystal Burrows, BBA, CPA, CA

(Co-supervised with Adam Fenech)

Crystal is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Island Studies. Her research focus is on climate change mitigation through renewable energy and the impact that climate, economics, legislation, and islandness have on the adoption of renewable energy solutions on small islands, particularly PEI. Crystal is also the Chief Financial Officer of the PEI Energy Corporation, a provincial Crown corporation tasked with developing and promoting energy systems in PEI.

Emily VanIderstine

Emily studied the suitability of areas around PEI for siting offshore wind farms, considering water depth, fishing activity, transmission distance, etc. for her course project in Public Scholars on Environmental Issues (ENV 401).

Open Graduate Research Assistant Positions

Prospective graduate students with interests in offshore wind or energy systems analysis are encouraged to get in touch. More information.

Approaches, Tools, Facilities

A foundation of our approach is using simulations to check understanding of a problem and efficiently analyze possible solutions. Simulations are usually developed with in-house or open-source tools, avoiding the "black box" limitations of proprietary software. We use established tools such as FAST and MoorDyn, along with the Python environment for custom analysis.

Physical testing comes into play for checking prototypes, assessing performance of designs, and validing new simulation tools. Emphasis is on dynamic testing, which involve the measurement and control of forces and motions, such as is applicable for wind and marine renewable energy structures. We have equipment for high-speed measurement, cable-based actuation, and real-time control including hardware-in-the-loop simulation applications.

Wave Tank

When it comes to testing offshore structures, our main test facility is a 12 m by 2 m by 1 m wave tank currently under construction at the UPEI SSDE. This is a large project with contributions from many personnel at the SSDE. The tank will enable testing of fixed and floating structures in polychromatic sea states, with the option of wind loads emulated by force-controlled cable actuation.

wave tank


Graduate Students

Funded graduate-level research projects are pending in both energy systems and wind energy (on and offshore). One project area concerns how to make PEI's electricity system more renewable and self-sufficient, including new trends such as electric vehicles and demand response. Wind turbine related topics include dynamics models of turbines on PEI, wave tank testing methods for offshore turbines, and new design ideas for floating wind farms. Multiple positions will likely be avialable as early as May 2018. If interested, contact me with a cover letter describing your skills and interests, your CV, and a transcripts PDF if available.

General note: prospective students should reach out to faculty they are interested in working with, and should be proactive about applying for scholarships such as the NSERC CGS. It is advantageous to have your own funding. As is the case with most professors, if you are interested in working with me I’ll be happy to offer advice on research scholarship applications.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

I will have several undergraduate research assistant openings this summer on projects related to wind turbine sensors, tidal resource assessment, and wave tank testing. Currently, I am seeking two exceptional candidates to apply for NSERC USRA scholarships. Must be UPEI students. Please talk to me by Monday, Feb. 12th if you would like to learn more.


External collaboration: Collaborations with companies and research institutions on topics of mutual interest play a big role in my work. These may be on an in-kind, contract, or externally-funded basis.

Industry partnership with the SSDE: The School of Sustainable Design Engineering partners with companies that become clients for student design projects. This is coordinated by the SSDE Industry Partnership Group.

Other: When interests strongly align, there is almost always some way to work together.