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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Generalizing wind farm wake models for improved wind farm layout design
Disciplines:  Multidisciplinary, Engineering, Physics, Applied Mathematics
Mentor:  Dennice Gayme, Assistant Professor, (EAS),, Phone: 410-516-5784
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a Caltech alumna and will be conducted at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The project is part of ongoing collaborative research on wind farm modeling and control that involves Profs. Dennice Gayme, Charles Meneveau as well as international collaborators in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Wind farm underperformance, the phenomenon in which a wind farm produces less power when built than predicted preconstruction, has been a global challenge. One of the commonly cited culprits for this behavior is the poor understanding of wake-wake and wake-atmosphere interactions in large wind farms, which often span several kilometers meaning that it takes minutes to hours for the wind to pass through the farm. In previous work [Stevens et al. 2015] we proposed a method to combine a commonly used engineering model (the Jensen model) with a model of the wind farm modified atmospheric boundary layer (ABL), the so- called top down model, into a coupled wake boundary layer (CWBL) model. This CWBL is formed in an iterative process that takes advantage of the relative benefits of each individual model to obtain consistent coupled model parameters that result in improved predictions over either of its constitute parts. The results of this model were shown to provide improved power output predictions for two wind farms in Denmark [Stevens et al. 2016]. Importantly the CWBL model retains the low computational complexity of an engineering model, in the sense that it can be solved quickly (on the order of minutes on a laptop computer) and can therefore be used to explore the design space with low computational cost.

Due to the nature of this project, the professor prefers students in their sophomore year or above.
Description:  The goal of the work is to extend the CWBL to work for irregularly arranged wind farm configurations. Many locations worldwide are limited to irregular arrangements due to topological patterns, land ownership or other geographical constraints. Typical wake models and averaged models of the wind farm modified influenced ABL are typically not designed for irregular configurations. Developing a simple engineered model such as the CWBL that can evaluate the power output for an irregularly arranged farm will allow the evaluation of a far greater number of potential wind farm sites, which could facilitate building more and larger wind farms in non-traditional locations.

Extending the CWBL model for application to arbitrary wind farm arrangements entails modifying the existing model in two main ways; disaggregating the wake expansion coefficient from row based values to individual turbine ones and generalizing the atmospheric boundary layer model to account for the irregular arrangements. The analysis will include geometric evaluation of the wake area and evaluation of the wake growth coefficients based on the local density of the wind farm. The resulting generalized CWBL will be tested on a variety of wind farm configurations and the results will be compared to the Jensen model and high fidelity simulations of the particular farm. The numerical computations will primarily be carried out in Matlab. However, the student will also run large eddy simulations to provide baseline data for select cases (with the help of the graduate student).
References:  R.J.A.M. Stevens, D.F. Gayme, and C. Meneveau, “Coupled Wake Boundary Layer Model of Wind-Farms,” Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 023115, 2015

R.J.A.M. Stevens, D.F. Gayme, and C. Meneveau, “Generalized Coupled Wake Boundary Layer Model: Applications and Comparisons with Field and LES Data for Two Real Wind-Farms,” Wind Energy, vol. 19, no. 11, pp. 2023 – 2040, Nov. 2016

R. J.A.M. Stevens and Charles Meneveau, “Flow Structure and Turbulence in Wind Farms,” Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 2017 49:1, 311-339
Student Requirements:  Suggested skills: basic Matlab,
Suggested courses: introductory fluid dynamics, ordinary differential equations and linear algebra
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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