Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

PhD Studentship Opportunity in The effect of non-neutral winds on wind power aerodynamics

Project Description

Renewable sources provided 29.3% of the electricity generated in the UK in 2017, with offshore wind turbines producing some 21% of that, and registering an increased capacity of 27% during the same year [1]; these trends are predicted to grow in line with 2030 and 2050 targets [2]. As our society becomes ever-more dependent on wind power, it is increasingly important to gain a deeper understanding and more accurate predictability of the wind power availability, the aero-elastic loads on the wind turbine blades, and the associated issues of turbine control.

According to the sector deal of the UK government “offshore wind is intended to deliver 30GW of by 2030” [3]. This target is only achievable if one considers, as expected, a drastic increase in size and capacity of both single wind turbines and wind farms; it becomes, therefore, ever more important to the industry to develop reliable and fast prediction tools to estimate the potential of wind energy extraction and the static and dynamic loads on the turbine blades and rotor torque. This is because as wind turbines grow in size [3], they tend to occupy a larger portion of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL), and therefore, the larger turbine blades are subject to increasingly significant non-uniform and unsteady incoming flow conditions. Similarly, stable boundary layers (e.g. night time) are typically much shallower than their neutral counterparts; therefore, the length scales characterising the wind turbine and the ABL become comparable. With increasing size, it also becomes more important how the flow is correlated across the streamtube ahead of a turbine – assuming that the turbulence is coherent (i.e. highly correlated) can result in drastically overburdening the structure of the turbine, with a substantial loss in aerodynamic efficiency.

This studentship will focus on the characterization of wind turbine wakes in different atmospheric conditions, and in particular, at their interaction through a series of wind tunnel tests. It is envisaged that three-dimensional laser doppler anemometry will be used in conjunction with other measurement techniques, whilst also measuring the power output of the wind turbines.

Entry requirements:
1st or upper 2nd class degree is required in a subject appropriate to the PhD projects applied for (please see project descriptions). Candidates with a lower class of Bachelors degree, but a good performance at the Masters level ("merit" or above) will also be considered.

How to apply:
Applicants should apply through the Aerodynamic and Environmental Flow course page Please clearly state the studentship title on your application.

Funding Notes

University fees are fully covered with a stipend of £14,057 per year, tax free, in line with research councils.


1] Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics - DUKES (2018). Department for Business, Energy Industrial Strategy.
[2] Offshore Wind Section Deal (2019). Department for Business, Energy Industrial Strategy.
[3] NECP (2019). The UK’s draft integrated National Energy and Climate Plan, Department for Business, Energy Industrial Strategy.

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