PhD position on wind turbine modelling and scanning and lidar analysis

Updated: about 14 hours ago

The Faculty of Engineering, Department Industriële ingenieurswetenschappen, is looking for a PhD-student with a doctoral grant

More concretely your work package, for the preparation of a doctorate, contains: 

The VUB Acoustics and Vibrations Research group has a core focus on wind energy as a member of OWI-lab. Our vision is to bring methodological advancements all the way to application in industry. This is achieved by working closely together with the different wind farm operators within the Belgian offshore zone: e.g. Parkwind, Norther, Otary. The main focus of the department is on performance monitoring and health monitoring of the different machine components. To this end, multiple dedicated measurement campaigns have been performed throughout the Belgian offshore zone. 


The European Green Deal aims to reduce emissions by 55% in 2030 compared to 1990. To this end, a target is set to have an installed capacity of offshore wind of least 60 GW in 2030. To fully leverage the potential of the European Sea Basins, rapid technological advancements are needed. Recent trends have resulted in the design of wind turbines with higher rated power output, reaching up to 15MW. To enable the construction of wind energy in deeper sea basins, the transition towards floating offshore structures is moreover gaining attention. It is expected that 20% of newly installed offshore wind by 2035 will be floating.

These advancements result in different technological challenges. In this PhD, the main focus will be on three particular ones: the characterization of (a) wind turbine inflow (b) the effect of neighbouring wind turbines on wind turbine inflow (c) Machine component loading. This is facilitated by investigating high frequency scada, and LiDAR data. Both nacelle and scanning LiDAR measurements are available within the Belgian offshore zone. The former allows to accurately assess the inflow conditions for a single wind turbine and to couple these with state-of-the-art wind turbine simulation tools such as OpenFAST in order to establish links between component loading and wind turbine inflow. In this way, a digital twin for the wind turbine is constructed. The latter measures line-of-sight wind speeds within a range up to 10km. Therefore, it allows the opportunity to look at the interaction between different wind turbines (e.g. by tuning the wake velocity deficits). As the potential of using scanning LiDARs within wind farms has not yet been extensively discussed in literature, this data offers significant novelty within the PhD when integrated within a digital twin frameworks.

As a PhD researcher, you will contribute in designing, developing and deploying a scalable software framework for an advanced wind analytics engine. In this role, you will collaborate with a bright team of software developers, AI engineers and mechanical engineers to develop next-generation wind analytics software, as well as perform research on scalable analytics architectures.

We are looking for creative applicants with a strong passion for wind analytics, having experience in software development, data ingestion pipelines and system management. The ideal candidate for this position will be a reliable and skilled engineer, who is eager to break down large technical problems and solve them systematically.

For this function, our Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus (Elsene) will serve as your home base. 

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