PhD position: Thermal stability effects in large scale windfarms

Wind-turbines interact with the environment over a wide range of length scales ranging from millimeters (viscous scales) and meters (wakes and tip vortices) up to geophysical scales of hundreds of meters (inter-turbine spacing) to kilometers (wind-farms). The large scale separation makes analysis and design of wind-farms challenging from both a theoretical and a numerical perspective. However, a detailed understanding of the relevant physics is critical for efficient wind-farm designs that exploit the full potential of this important renewable energy source. Field experiments can provide measurements of key parameters but it is not possible to fully specify the test conditions, i.e. isolate a set of control parameters, which makes it very difficult to separate different effects. High-fidelity simulations on the other hand offer the possibility to set the control parameters exactly and thus allow one to fully specify the conditions under which the wind-farm performance is tested. This makes simulations the ideal tool to obtain insight into the complex interactions that dictate wind-farm performance.

Job description:
Understanding the interaction between extended wind-farms and the atmosphere is crucial to predict wind-farm performance. High-fidelity scientific simulations are ideally suited to enhance our fundamental knowledge of this interaction, because simulations reveal the flow in the entire wind-farm and therefore important physical effects can be studied precisely and under controlled and reproducible conditions. In this project the candidate will use simulations to study the effect of important parameters such as the influence of atmospheric thermal stability, and changes in wind-direction and speed on wind-farm performance. Insight obtained from these simulations will be used to develop physics-based models that describe wind-farm power fluctuations and can help to develop and test innovative windfarm control strategies. These types of detailed studies that can isolate and characterize important physical phenomena are critical for improving wind-farm design tools. In this work the candidate will use, and further develop, efficient computational methods to enable very high resolution simulations of large scale wind farms. This PhD project will focus on investigating the effects of the atmospheric thermal stability on the performance of extended wind-farms.

The work will be performed in the Physics of Fluids group at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The research in this group covers a variety of aspects in fluid mechanics. The focus of our work is the fundamental understanding of the phenomena of the physics of uids, bubbles and turbulence, which we undertake by experimental, numerical and theoretical means. Within the group both fundamental and applied work, in close collaboration with industrial partners, is done. Our research is embedded in the MESA+ and MIRA Institutes in Twente and the J.M. Burgers Research Center for fluid mechanics (JMBC). The group receives external research funds from FOM, ERC, EU, STW, NWO, SenterNovem and several industrial partners. Further information can be found at: and

We seek highly talented, enthusiastic, and exceptionally motivated candidates with an MSc. degree in Physics or engineering. The candidate must have strong communication skills, including fluency in written and spoken English. Experience with programming in C or Fortran is a plus.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply to Richard Stevens ( Please be prepared to upload a curriculum vitae including a brief description of your research interests, and have the email addresses of at least two referents ready, who are willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Contact: Assistant Prof. Dr. Richard Stevens (PI from POF)

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Centre for Scientific Computing