PhD Multiscale Modelling for Wind Farm Design, Performance Assessment and Loading (MERIDIONAL)

PhD Multiscale Modelling for Wind Farm Design, Performance Assessment and Loading (MERIDIONAL)

Published Deadline Location
21 Oct 15 Dec Delft

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Job description

The wind energy industry is developing wind turbines and airborne wind energy devices which span altitudes well above the well-studied surface layer. A full understanding of the unsteady inflow conditions which drive loads and performance at these altitudes is lacking. The EU-funded Horizon Europe project MERIDIONAL will provide a comprehensively validated toolchain based on an open-source platform which will draw on an integrated knowledge and data hub to allow the efficient and accurate assessment of the performance and loads experienced by onshore, offshore, and airborne wind energy systems. This tool chain is intended to be used for component, device and plant level planning and operation. 

This project provides an exciting and stimulating research opportunity for those willing to advance our understanding of the physics of the atmosphere and its impact on both wind farm performance and wind farm loading. This is a multi-partner project necessitating close collaboration between some of the leading research institutes working on wind energy in Europe and the US as well as major companies active in turbine design, wind farm development, wind farm operation and airborne wind energy systems development. TU Delft is coordinating this project and is seeking to recruit a team of talented researchers who wish to make a real contribution to the energy transition.

PhD 1 will work on the interface between the complex unsteady atmospheric inflow and the response of individual wind turbines. The project will identify the driving flow structures in the inflow for both turbine loads and performance. We will co-simulate an experimental campaign using Large Eddy Simulation (LES) coupled to OpenFAST and decompose the inflow to identify the key flow structures. This knowledge will be used to propose an improved method to create synthetic inflow data, representing all important turbulent flow structures, for aero-elastic simulation tools.

PhD 2 will focus on wind farm aerodynamics and improved modelling of performance and loading at the farm level subject to realistic atmospheric flow conditions. The project will investigate under what atmospheric conditions significant interaction between the wind farm and the atmosphere can be expected, and how to best simulate those conditions numerically using LES. We will compare LES with simpler engineering models and data from operational wind farms to understand the impact of key atmospheric phenomena on energy yield and loading, as well as to assess model performance and develop improvements.

PhD 3 will work on the interface between the complex unsteady atmospheric inflow and the flight dynamic and aeroelastic response of airborne wind energy systems (AWES). The project will further investigate how the flow structures in the inflow affect the achievable power output of the AWES (soft- and fixed-wing types). This will be done with flight test data acquired jointly with three industry partners and by modelling the inflow. A third consideration in this project is the effect of AWES wakes on the flying system itself and other systems in park configuration will be studied.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidates should have an MSc degree in Aerospace Engineering, or an MSc degree in related engineering disciplines such as mechanical engineering, applied science, applied physics or equivalent.

  • For PhD 1 you should have an excellent track record with proven experience (courses, projects, work experience, etc.) in the field of computational fluid dynamics and wind turbine/rotor dynamics. Statistical or big data analysis is an asset.
  • For PhD 2, similar requirements apply for experience with computational fluid dynamics (excellent track record, proven experience). Further, the candidate should hold good programming skills in either C++ or Fortran.
  • For PhD 3, you should have experience with modelling airborne wind energy systems or similar technologies and good programming skills in Python. Statistical or big data analysis is an asset.

Doing a PhD or at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details, please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.  

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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

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 as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.


Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 38—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02951


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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