• PhD research project (ESR8) wind turbine wake characterization with long-range lidars

    Location DE-Oldenburg
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    Your opportunity to do your PhD in a close cooperation between Underwriters Laboratories as part of

    EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


    Title of the ESR_PhD Research Project (ESR8)

    Wind turbine wake characterization with long-range lidars


    RESEARCHER PROFILE: First Stage Researcher (R1)



    LOCATION Germany › Oldenburg


    TYPE OF CONTRACT 36 months / temporary / 40 hours p.w.


    START DATE 2020, Feb 1


    Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher – PhD position abstract from application


    General information about the Lidar Knowledge Europe (LIKE) project

    LIdar Knowledge Europe (LIKE) fosters training and education of young researchers on emerging laser-based wind measurement technologies and its translation into industrial applications. Doppler Lidars (light detection and ranging) that measured the wind in the atmosphere remotely have reduced in price and increased reliability over the last decade mainly driven by European universities and companies serving the growing wind energy industry. This opens the possibility for new applications in many areas. LIKE improves, tests and refines the technology thus expanding these areas of application. LIKE promotes wind energy applications such as wind resource mapping using scanning lidars and control of individual wind turbines or entire wind farms in order to increase energy production and reduce mechanical loads. LIKE maps unusual atmospheric flow patterns over airports in real-time and thus improves the safety of landing aircrafts. LIKE explores wind and turbulence under extreme conditions at the sites of future European bridges paving the road for optimal bridge design. LIKE trains 15 ESRs to an outstanding level at world-leading European academic institutions and industrial companies, thus forming strong interdisciplinary relations between industry and technical sciences. These relations are implemented through employment of the ESRs at academia as well as industry, and through inter-sectoral secondments. Finally, translation of technology into specific applications is emphasised through the implementation of an entrepreneurship training course LIKE partners, particularly industry.


    Problem description

    A detailed description of the wind field inside and behind wind farms is becoming very important throughout the full life cycle of a wind energy project. In general such description is achieved by means of flow models which have been validated experimentally directly against anemometer data, or indirectly against production data of wind turbines operating in wake. This renders the model development and validation work into a very lengthy and expensive process. These validation methods can be assumed as state of the technique, however, they have limitations in capturing the wake wind field in detail. This is due to their intrinsic large averaging effects either in time or in space.


    Today, the limitations in the measurement of a detailed wake can be overcome, with the application of long-range lidars. They can measure wind fields with high spatial and temporal resolution. Lately, advances from the research community, in the analysis techniques of lidar measurements, have shown the ability to capture the wake field with great detail. These techniques have shown a potential to be applied at industrial level. They make technically and economically feasible the measurement of the wake field comprehensively all along the downstream distance of an individual turbine. This enhances the accuracy of model validation, and has the potential to even replace the need to model the wake for a particular wind turbine model. The advantage of the new analysis techniques is the ability to remove large-scale effects. The resulting averaged wake would be analogous to the wake in an environment influenced only by turbulence with length-scales smaller than the turbine rotor. The resulting wind field behind the wake could then be assumed as a normalized wake. This would be dependent on turbulence intensity and turbine operational conditions, but not on large scale effects. This would make, for instance, the wake of a defined wind turbine model comparable between different sites or atmospheric stability conditions.


    Scope of work

    This research aims to proof the concept of measurement of a normalized wake by means of long-range lidar. For this, the researcher will study, in the initial phase, the application of different techniques to remove large-scale effects from single wake lidar measurements.  From this, the accuracy to which a normalized wake can be measured, should be assessed. In a second phase, the application of the normalized wake at industrial level will be studied. Here an application will be selected from different evaluated applications and consequently methods will be developed. As example, a model could be developed to superimpose site specific large-scale effects with the normalized wake. The implementation of such model, for instance, in wind farm layout optimization software, such as the in-house developed OpenWind, would be evaluated.
    The research work foresees two stays at the University of Oldenburg and the University of Bergen, who will provide supervision in specific topics and access to experimental data.

    Expected results

    1) Assessment of methodologies to estimate a normalized wake based on long-range lidars; 2) A method for application of normalized wake in an industrial context (e.g. wake localization) and eventually its application (e.g. implementation in wind farm software OpenWind)


    Job description and eligibility criteria

    Candidates should have:

    • a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in Meteorology, Physical Sciences, Wind Engineering, Remote Sensing or similar
    • Documented background in fluid dynamics, measurement analysis and computational physics
    • Knowledge on wind turbine technology and wind turbine wakes would be beneficial
    • Ability to work in a project team and take responsibility for own research goals
    • Fluency in communicating and reporting in English

    In addition, the successful candidate should satisfy at the time of the recruitment the following mandatory characteristics:

    1. having not more than 4 years of equivalent research experience (i.e. working as researcher after obtaining your master’s degree);
    2. having not been awarded a title of PhD;
    3. having not resided or carried out her/his main activity in Germany for more than 12 months in the last 3 years

    Approval and Enrolment

    The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval. The selected candidate will have to enroll as PhD student at the University of Oldenburg.


    Please submit your online application.

    Your contact person is Sarah Au, Human Resources Manager. In case of any questions please reach out to sarah.au@ul.com



    The main workplace will be UL, Oldenburg. Furthermore, the PhD candidate will have stages at the University of Oldenburg (Wind Energy Systems research group) and at the University of Bergen (Geophysical Institute)

    Further information at www.msca-like.eu



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