PhD position on Numerical Modelling of Regional-Scale Wind-Farm Flow Dynamics

Updated: 29 days ago
Deadline: 31 May 2021

The average size of modern wind farms and wind-farm clusters, especially in the offshore environment, has reached a point where the local extraction of energy from the wind is often so large that it modifies the atmospheric flow on a large, regional-wide scale that extends well beyond the farm's boundaries. One example is the so-called global blockage effect: a significant and far-reaching reduction in wind speed ahead of a wind farm that cannot be attributed to the induction of a single turbine. Another example is the excitation of atmospheric gravity waves in the free atmosphere above the boundary layer. These waves are triggered by the upward deflection of the incoming flow, and the regional-scale pressure field induced by these waves may further reduce the wind speed in front of the wind farm. These flow phenomena may affect the energy yield of the wind farm that caused them as well as that of other wind energy projects nearby. Unlike well-studied local flow effects that occur mostly within one and the same wind farm, regional-scale flow effects form a relatively new field of research, and many aspects of the interaction between wind farms and the atmospheric boundary layer on a regional scale are not entirely understood.

The current project focuses on numerical modelling of regional-scale wind-farm flow dynamics using large-eddy simulations (LES) and/or Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations. Designing a numerical experiment to accurately resolve regional-scale flow patterns is very challenging, and in literature it is currently achieved via ad-hoc approaches. The first part of this project aims to develop a methodology for the rigorous design of numerical experiments, as well as metrics to assess the adequacy of the setup. In the second part, numerical experiments are used to study the fundamental physics of regional-scale wind-farm flow dynamics.

The candidate should have a MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or a MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as applied physics, applied mathematics, or mechanical engineering, with a proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in the field of fluid mechanics. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and a strong interest in atmospheric boundary-layer flows is required. Experience with numerical simulations is preferred. Since an important part of research work is dissemination and collaboration, fluent communication skills in English, both written and orally, are of utmost importance. Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply.  

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct ). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

The Department of Aerodynamics, Wind Energy and Flight Performance and Propulsion (AWEP) is one of four departments composing Aerospace Engineering. Fundamental research is performed in the Aerodynamics section. Aircraft design, propulsion systems and their integration are the main topics in the FPP section. Wind energy systems, from small wind turbines to large offshore farms, are the objective of the research of the Wind Energy Section. The department operates comprehensive laboratories, equipped with modern wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measurement systems.

The Wind Energy Section facilitates the development of wind energy technology and the expansion of the use of wind power through research and education.

In its research activities there is a focus on large multi megawatt offshore wind turbines and offshore wind farms, though urban and airborne wind power is also addressed. Both technology development aspects as well as fundamental aspects are present in the research program. With respect to educational courses, the BSc and MSc level are offered for Aerospace students, SET students and for the European Wind Energy Master (EWEM) students. 

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr.ir. Dries Allaerts, e-mail: D.J.N.Allearts-1@tudelft.nl, tel: +31 15 2781321.

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 1-6-2021 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

The average size of modern wind farms and wind-farm clusters, especially in the offshore environment, has reached a point where the local extraction of energy from the wind is often so large that it modifies the atmospheric flow on a large, regional-wide scale that extends well beyond the farm's boundaries. One example is the so-called global blockage effect: a significant and far-reaching reduction in wind speed ahead of a wind farm that cannot be attributed to the induction of a single turbine. Another example is the excitation of atmospheric gravity waves in the free atmosphere above the boundary layer. These waves are triggered by the upward deflection of the incoming flow, and the regional-scale pressure field induced by these waves may further reduce the wind speed in front of the wind farm. These flow phenomena may affect the energy yield of the wind farm that caused them as well as that of other wind energy projects nearby. Unlike well-studied local flow effects that occur mostly within one and the same wind farm, regional-scale flow effects form a relatively new field of research, and many aspects of the interaction between wind farms and the atmospheric boundary layer on a regional scale are not entirely understood.

The current project focuses on numerical modelling of regional-scale wind-farm flow dynamics using large-eddy simulations (LES) and/or Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations. Designing a numerical experiment to accurately resolve regional-scale flow patterns is very challenging, and in literature it is currently achieved via ad-hoc approaches. The first part of this project aims to develop a methodology for the rigorous design of numerical experiments, as well as metrics to assess the adequacy of the setup. In the second part, numerical experiments are used to study the fundamental physics of regional-scale wind-farm flow dynamics.

The candidate should have a MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering from a well-established university, or a MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as applied physics, applied mathematics, or mechanical engineering, with a proven experience (courses, projects, work experience) in the field of fluid mechanics. A combination of good mathematical/analytical skills and a strong interest in atmospheric boundary-layer flows is required. Experience with numerical simulations is preferred. Since an important part of research work is dissemination and collaboration, fluent communication skills in English, both written and orally, are of utmost importance. Female scientists are particularly encouraged to apply.  

TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct ). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 250 PhD candidates and over 2,700 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

The Department of Aerodynamics, Wind Energy and Flight Performance and Propulsion (AWEP) is one of four departments composing Aerospace Engineering. Fundamental research is performed in the Aerodynamics section. Aircraft design, propulsion systems and their integration are the main topics in the FPP section. Wind energy systems, from small wind turbines to large offshore farms, are the objective of the research of the Wind Energy Section. The department operates comprehensive laboratories, equipped with modern wind tunnels and state-of-the-art measurement systems.

The Wind Energy Section facilitates the development of wind energy technology and the expansion of the use of wind power through research and education.

In its research activities there is a focus on large multi megawatt offshore wind turbines and offshore wind farms, though urban and airborne wind power is also addressed. Both technology development aspects as well as fundamental aspects are present in the research program. With respect to educational courses, the BSc and MSc level are offered for Aerospace students, SET students and for the European Wind Energy Master (EWEM) students. 

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr.ir. Dries Allaerts, e-mail: D.J.N.Allearts-1@tudelft.nl, tel: +31 15 2781321.

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 1-6-2021 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.

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