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Matthew Lackner - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Matthew Lackner

Director or Wind Energy Center and Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Matthew Lackner studies offshore wind energy with a focus on the aerodynamics and structural control of floating offshore wind turbines.

Expertise (5)

Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

Renewable Energy Systems

Wind Turbines

Energy, Environment, and Water

Offshore wind power


Matthew Lackner's research focuses on offshore wind energy with a particular concentration on the aerodynamics and structural control of floating offshore wind turbines.

He is also director of the NSF-funded ELEVATE: Elevating Equity Values in the Transition of the Energy System Ph.D. program at UMass Amherst that focuses on solving the technical, socioeconomic and climate challenges in energy transition.

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Professor Matthew Lackner: UMass Amherst Wind Energy Center Faculty Interview


Education (3)

University of Massachusetts Amherst: Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics

Princeton University: B.S.E., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Minor: Physics)

Select Recent Media Coverage (4)

Wind Power Without Giant Turbines? Some Startups Are Thinking Smaller and Quieter

The Wall Street Journal  online


Matthew A. Lackner, director of the Wind Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says some of these new technologies may end up generating only small amounts of electricity. Mounting small units atop buildings, he says, is just “nibbling around the edges” of the overall need for more wind power. “What we need is a massive rollout of the really good technology we already have,” Lackner says.

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Offshore Wind Energy Takes Root in Local Waters

Vineyard Gazette  online


Ocean winds are much stronger and more consistent than those on land. And the waters off the Vineyard and Nantucket — sometimes dubbed the Saudi Arabia of wind – have been seen as one of the most promising areas to get turbines in the water and meet climate goals. Powerful winds of about 10 meters per second, relatively shallow waters and proximity to the east coast’s population centers make the location ideal, advocates say. “There’s nowhere on land that has winds speeds as high as offshore,” said Matthew Lackner, the director of the wind energy center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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Wind Power’s Explosive Growth Is Blowing Past Green Energy Goals

Reasons to be Cheerful  online


Matthew Lackner, director of the University of Massachusetts’s Wind Energy Center, also points to the role of a progressive policy known as the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act in the late 1970s that helped to catalyze the industry’s early growth in the US. “Tax credits really stimulated the wind energy market, but they were then cut by Reagan, and that’s when Europe took over the lead,” he says.

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New motionless tech harnesses wind energy from rooftops

Freethink  online


“When it comes to residential, most areas have limits of towers you can install on your house or something, so you can’t really get a turbine up very high,” Matthew Lackner, director of the University of Massachusetts’ Wind Energy Center, who wasn’t involved in the development of the new system, told Popular Science in May.

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Select Publications (5)

Multi-objective optimization for an autonomous unmoored offshore wind energy system substructure

Applied Energy

2023 Autonomous unmoored floating offshore wind energy systems are an unconventional but promising technological solution to access the greatest wind resource in deep waters far offshore. This study proposes a trimaran substructure for such an autonomous unmoored system producing green hydrogen, named the Wind Trawler, which serves as both a power generation system and an energy transport vessel. Using a multi-objective optimization approach founded on the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II), the principal geometric parameters of the trimaran substructure hulls (primary hull and two symmetrically-spaced equivalent outriggers) are optimized with respect to minimization of system steel mass and minimization of the average unit power consumption per unit generation.

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A New Methodology for Upscaling Semi-submersible Platforms for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

Wind Energy Science Discussions

2023 This paper presents a new upscaling methodology for floating offshore wind turbine platforms. The size and power rating of offshore wind turbines have been growing in recent years, with modern wind turbines rated at 10–14 MW in contrast with 2–5 MW in 2010. It is not apparent how much further wind turbines can be increased before it is unjustified. Scaling relations are a useful method for analyzing wind turbine designs, to understand the mass, load, and cost increases with size. Scaling relations currently do not exist but are needed for floating offshore platforms to understand how the technical and economic development of floating offshore wind energy may develop with increasing turbine size. In this paper, a hydrodynamic model has been developed to capture the key platform response in pitch. The hydrodynamic model is validated using OpenFAST, a high-fidelity offshore wind turbine simulation software.

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How do floating wind turbines work? 5 companies just won the first US leases for building them off California’s coast

The Conversation

Matthew Lackner


"How do floating wind turbines work? 5 companies just won the first US leases for building them off California’s coast"

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Large eddy simulations of curled wakes from tilted wind turbines

Renewable Energy

2022 One control strategy to increase power production in wind farms is angling wind turbine rotors, in order to steer wakes away from downwind turbines. Although rotor yaw is the most common approach to wake steering, tilting the rotor vertically to steer the wake downward can also increase total farm power. In this study, large eddy simulations of a 15 MW turbine are performed for rotor tilt angles of 0°, 15°, and 30° with below-rated turbulent inflow. Wake characteristics are analyzed, including using circulation to quantify the curled wake's counter-rotating vortex pair and quantifying wake shapes by fitting Legendre polynomials to wake edge polar coordinates. Tilting the rotor causes downward wake steering, wider and vertically compressed wake cross-sections, and stronger counter-rotating vortices.

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Edgewise vibration suppression of multi-megawatt wind turbine blades using passive tuned mass dampers

Wind Engineering

2021 The lack of aerodynamic damping of wind turbine blades in the edgewise direction causes larger dynamic responses and lowers the reliability. As blades become longer, edgewise fatigue loading increases rapidly. To mitigate the blade edgewise vibration, structural control techniques using a tuned mass damper (TMD) are applied in this paper. The “TMD” module in FASTv8 was upgraded to enable the high-fidelity simulation of structural control of the blade response. With the developed tool, the optimal parameters and generalized design formulas were established through a parametric study. Also, the control effect of the optimal blade-TMD on reducing fatigue and extreme loads of two different multi-megawatts turbine blades is investigated.

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