Example 5: Wind Tunnel Experiments for Wind Energy Optimization

Position Start Date : Subject to Availability
Application Deadline : Open Until Filled
Job Categories : MS Position
Contact : [email protected]


Wind energy is the fastest growing source of renewable energy in the World and one of the key players in the global energy markets. Optimizing the design (turbine selection and siting) and operation of wind energy projects is currently subject to large uncertainties associated with our limited ability to predict wind and turbulence at spatial and temporal scales relevant to wind turbine operation. This is due to the complex interactions of the turbulent atmospheric boundary layer flow with wind turbines and wind farms.

At the WIRE Lab of EPFL, we use a synergistic combination of computational fluid dynamics, field experiments and wind-tunnel experiments to develop tools that can be used for the optimization of wind energy projects.

Two M.S. Projects are proposed based on wind tunnel experiments:

  • Wind tunnel study of wind turbine performance and wind turbine wakes over complex terrain. Wind tunnel experiments will be designed and carried out to study the performance of wind turbines on topography and optimize their placement on the landscape. To achieve that, different types of idealized terrains (e.g., cliffs and isolated hills) will be constructed and wind turbines placed on top.
  • Wind tunnel study on wind farm design optimization. Scaled-down wind turbine models will be used to study the interaction between turbulent boundary layer flow (similar to the one in the atmosphere) and wind farms with different configurations and turbine densities. These experiments will help us optimize the design of wind farms by maximizing energy output and minimizing fatigue loads associated with high turbulence levels.

To be considered for one of these positions, please send your CV and a short description of your interests, to Professor Fernando Porté-Agel ([email protected]).