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Job Record #16286
TitleTwo-way meso–micro coupling for wind farm simulations
CategoryPhD Studentship
EmployerKU Leuven
LocationBelgium, Leuven
InternationalYes, international applications are welcome
Closure DateSunday, May 31, 2020
PhD Position on two-way meso–micro coupling for wind farm planning, forecasting and nowcasting

Promoter: J. Meyers
Contact: Prof. J. Meyers, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Celestijnenlaan 300A, B3001 Leuven, Belgium. T: +32(0)16 322502. Google Scholar
Apply using the KU Leuven online application platform. (Applications by email are not considered!)

This PhD position is part of the FREEWIND project (Development of a Fast REsourcE planning and forecasting platform for the Belgian offshore WIND zones), financed by the Flemish Energy Transition Fund, which aims to encourage and support energy research and development supporting the transition to a carbon-neutral society. The project team consists of nine researchers and supporting staff. Three PhD students will be recruited at the start of the project and work full time for four years (the current position is one of them). A data scientist and ICT engineer, will work part time on the project. The project is closely aligned with another funded project on two-way meso–micro coupling for wind farm optimization and design, carried out by two PhD students at KU Leuven. The project is led by Prof. Johan Meyers (Turbulent Flow Simulation and Optimization (TFSO) research group; department of Mechanical Engineering) and Prof. Nicole van Lipzig (Regional Climate Studies (RCS) research group; department of Earth and Environmental Sciences). Within the TFSO and RCS group there is ample of expertise on the modelling tools needed for the FREEWIND project. The current PhD position will be supervised by Prof. J. Meyers and co-supervised by Prof. N. van Lipzig.


Offshore wind energy plays a central role in Europe’s transition to a carbon-free energy system. In Europe, numerous offshore wind zones surpass 1GW in capacity, several of which are under construction. At these sizes, wind farms interact with the atmospheric boundary layer and the local meso-scale weather system. Only very recently, the importance of these effects for wind-farm operation have been recognized. For instance for the combined Belgian–Dutch offshore cluster, the effect of wind-farm induced gravity-wave systems on the overall Annual Energy Production can be up to 6% (less production), and up to 30% on hourly production. Two-way interaction with other meso-scale systems, such as land–sea breeze or convection cells may also be important, but this has not yet been investigated to date. These effects are not included in current windfarm planning and forecasting tools. The FREEWIND project aims at developing a planning and forecasting platform that includes mesoscale feedback. A central case study will be centered around Belgian’s offshore wind zones. The platform is made available open-source through a dedicated web interface that allows for online scenario analysis.


Research: To date, the main engineering paradigm with respect to the wind resource is a one-way approach, in which wind turbines are considered too small to affect the local wind climate. Current engineering tools for wind-farm planning are based on this approach. The development and open availability of fast models that include two-way coupling will be paramount for the efficient development and future exploitation of Europe’s large offshore wind farms. For this reason, KU Leuven developed an atmospheric perturbation model (Allaerts & Meyers, JFM 2019). The PhD will work on extending this model to take into account nonhomogeneous conditions, and baroclinic conditions. Moreover, a dynamical version of the model will be developed. The micro-scale model SP-Wind, a Large-Eddy Simulation code developed at KU Leuven, will be used to obtain highly detailed datasets for the development and validation of the atmospheric perturbation model. To this end, the current version of SP-Wind, will be slightly extended to include shallow boundary layers and effects of baroclinicity in the free atmosphere. The ultimate goal of this PhD is to develop and validate an engineering model for the planning (5 years to 20 years), forecasting (1 day to 7 days) and nowcasting (30 min to 1 day) ranges thereby including two-way coupling on all these timescales.

Timeline and remuneration: Ideal start time is March 1st 2020, but earlier and later starting dates can be negotiated. The PhD position lasts for the duration of four years, and is carried out at the University of Leuven. During this time, the candidate also takes up a limited amount (approx. 10% of the time) of teaching activities. The remuneration is generous and is in line with the standard KU Leuven rates. It consists of a net monthly salary of about 2000 Euro (in case of dependent children or spouse, the amount can be somewhat higher).


Candidates have a master degree in one of the following or related fields: fluid mechanics, aerospace or mathematical engineering, numerical mathematics, or computational physics. They should have a good background or interest in fluid mechanics, simulation, optimization, and programming (Fortran, C/C++, MATLAB, Python, …). Proficiency in English is a requirement. The position adheres to the European policy of balanced ethnicity, age and gender. Both men and women are encouraged to apply.


To apply, use the KU Leuven online application platform (applications by email are not considered) Please include:
a) an academic CV and a PDF of your diplomas and transcript of course work and grades
b) a statement of research interests and career goals, indicating why you are interested in this position
c) a sample of technical writing, e.g. a paper with you as main author, or your bachelor or master thesis
d) two recommendation letters
d) a list of possible additional references (different from recommendation letters): names, phone numbers, and email addresses
e) some proof of proficiency in English (e.g. language test results from TOEFL, IELTS, CAE, or CPE)

Please send your application as soon as possible and before May 31st, 2020 at the latest.
Decision: when a suitable candidate applies.
Starting date: candidates can start immediately. Start preferable Spring 2020.

Contact Information:
Please mention the CFD Jobs Database, record #16286 when responding to this ad.
NameJohan Meyers
Email ApplicationNo
Record Data:
Last Modified09:42:37, Friday, November 22, 2019

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