Two PhD Positions on wind farm optimization and design

at the University of Leuven, Belgium



Modern wind farms grow in size: Europe’s largest operational offshore wind farm today is the London Array with 175 Siemens turbines for an installed capacity of 630MW, while recent offshore tenders, such as Borselle I & II, surpass the GW size. Moreover, also turbines grow in size. The largest turbine to date, the Vestas V164, has a tip-height of about 190m. It is well known that wind farms at these scales interact with the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) through the accumulated effect of turbine wakes. Therefore, design and simulation tools focus on what is called in atmospheric terms the micro-scale regime. However, very recently, it was shown that large wind farms excite gravity waves in the free atmosphere, which interact significantly with the farm’s efficiency. This happens at scales that are much larger than micro scales, falling in the atmospheric meso-scale range. To date, the inclusion of meso-scale effects in wind-farm optimization and control is fully absent, and insight into the interaction that takes place at the interface between meso and micro scales is lacking. In the Meso–Micro Wind Farm project, we study these interactions using high-fidelity two-way coupled meso–micro simulation tools that we develop for that purpose. Moreover, we consider for the first time ever the implications of wind-farm meso–micro interaction on optimal design and operation of wind farms and wind farm clusters.

PHD1: TWO-WAY MESO–MICRO COUPLING FOR WIND FARM

OPTIMIZATION AND DESIGN

This PhD position is based in the Turbulent Flow Simulation and Optimization (TFSO) research group headed by Prof. Johan Meyers, which is part of the department of Mechanical Engineering. The position is embedded in the FWO Meso–Micro Wind Farm project, funded by the Flemish Science Foundation. The project is a collaboration between the research group of Prof. Meyers and the Regional Climate Studies (RCS) research group of Prof. van Lipzig at the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The PhD research is one of two research positions on this project, and focusses on developing new two-way meso–micro coupling strategies for simulations, optimization and design of large wind farms.

Research: The research concentrates on the development of improved high-fidelity meso–micro modelling of wind farms using a two-way coupling approach, and its use to study meso-scale feedback effects of wind farms, such as the excitation of gravity waves by wind farms. To this end, the micro-scale model SP-Wind (developed at the TFSO group over the last 10 years) is coupled to the 3D non-hydrostatic regional climate model COSMOCLM, with special care for the development of non-reflecting coupling strategies. Next to that, the PhD also focusses on the development of fast wind-farm models that include meso–micro coupling physics, and that can be used for wind-farm design and control. Development and validation of these models is based on the highfidelity SP-Wind–COSMO-CLM model chain. Finally, these fast wind-farm models are used to study windfarm design and improve wind-farm control given dominant offshore wind conditions in the North-Sea region, and taking into account meso–micro feedback effects.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

Candidates have a master degree in one of the following or related fields: fluid mechanics, aerospace or mathematical engineering, numerical mathematics, or computational physics. They should have a good background or interest in fluid mechanics, simulation, optimization, and programming (Fortran, C/C++, MATLAB, Python, …). Proficiency in English is a requirement. The position adheres to the European policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Both men and women are encouraged to apply.

PHD2: REGIONAL CLIMATE MODELLING FOR WIND FARM OPTIMIZATION

AND CONTROL

This PhD position is based in the Regional Climate Studies (RCS) research group headed by Prof. Nicole van Lipzig, which is part of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The position is embedded in the FWO Meso–Micro Wind Farm project, funded by the Flemish Science Foundation. The project is a collaboration between the research group of Prof. van Lipzig and the Turbulent Flow Simulation and Optimization (TFSO) research group of Prof. Johan Meyers at the department of Mechanical Engineering. The PhD research is one of two research positions on this project, and focusses on improving wind farm parameterizations in mesoscale models and assessing the interaction between large wind farm clusters and mesoscale atmospheric phenomena.

Research: The research concentrates on improving existing wind farm parameterization in the regional climate model COSMO-CLM, allowing for wind farm optimization and control. Calibration of model parameters will be done based on results from large eddy model simulation available from TFSO. COSMO-CLM is a nonhydrostatic mesoscale model and in this project, you will use it to study the interaction between large wind farm clusters and mesoscale weather systems like gravity waves, sea breezes, coastal fronts, convective and wind structures. You will assess the effect of mesoscale weather systems on wind farm power extraction and study the potential for optimization and wind farm control. Moreover you will assess the interaction between neighboring wind farms and get better insight in optimal set point for wind farm operation taking into account the yield from the entire cluster instead of focusing on one farm. You will closely collaborate with the PhD student working at the TFSO group and compare your results with the high-fidelity meso–micro model and fast wind-farm model that TFSO will develop in the course of the project. RCS is a member of the Climate Limited-area Modelling- Community and has strong experience in developing and applying COSMO-CLM.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

Candidates have a master degree (at the start of their contract) in one of the following or related fields: earthand environmental sciences (geography, meteorology, atmospheric sciences, bioscience engineering, etc.), fluid mechanics, physics, mathematics, informatics or civil engineering. You should have a good background or interest in programming (Fortran, C/C++, MATLAB, Python, …). Proficiency in English is a requirement. The position adheres to the European policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Both men and women are encouraged to apply.

APPLICATION

You can apply for this job no later than May 14, 2018 via the KULeuven online application tool

To apply for PhD1 go to https://icts.kuleuven.be/apps/jobsite/#/vacatures/54607759

To apply for PhD2 go to https://icts.kuleuven.be/apps/jobsite/#/vacatures/54607568

Applications by email are not considered. If you are interested in both positions, please submit your application twice.

Please include:

  • an academic CV and a PDF of your diplomas and transcript of course work and grades
  • a statement of research interests and career goals, indicating why you are interested in this position
  • a sample of technical writing, e.g. an abstract of a paper with you as main author, or an abstract of your bachelor or master thesis (max. 1 page)
  • a list of at least two references: names, phone numbers, and email addresses
  • some proof of proficiency in English (e.g. language test results from TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, or CPE)

Timeline and remuneration: Ideal start time is September 1st 2018, but earlier and later starting dates can be negotiated. The PhD position lasts for the duration of four years, and is carried out at the University of Leuven.

During this time, the candidate also takes up a limited amount (approx. 10% of the time) of teaching activities.

The remuneration is generous and is in line with the standard KU Leuven rates. It consists of a net monthly salary of about 2000 Euro (in case of dependent children or spouse, the amount can be somewhat higher).

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Johan Meyers, tel.: +32 16 32 25 02, mail: johan.meyers@kuleuven.be or Prof. dr. Nicole Van Lipzig, tel.: +32 16 32 64 53, mail: nicole.vanlipzig@kuleuven.be

published: 16 April 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.