Education

Researcher training constitutes a significant part of NorthWind’s activities. We are expecting 27 PhD grants to be funded by the Centre, including 10 in-kind grants by NTNU and UiO. 14 have already started.

In addition, there will be an effort as part of NorthWind to have more bachelor and master students at NTNU and UiO specialising in wind
energy (target of 200 MSc/BSc). This represents a unique recruitment base for the industry partners. Researcher training will be provided by NTNU and UiO, in cooperation with associate research partners.

A group of people taking soil samples.

PhD position: PhD Candidate in Geotechnical Engineering

We have a vacancy for a three-year PhD fellowship at the department of Civil and environmental engineering at NTNU. The topic for the PhD project is to reduce the uncertainties of wind turbine foundation performance by analysis ofinstallation data.

This PhD position is related to WP1 (De-risk critical aspects for concept selection and enable cost-effective design and fabrication of support structures through reduced uncertainty and application of novel methods). Specifically, it is aimed at reducing uncertainties in bearing capacity and deformability of suction caissons by considering the installation data. Normal design assumptions of suction caisson are based on sparse CPT data, which is associated with uncertainties arising from spatial variability and measurement errors. In fact, the installation of such foundations could also generate relevant datasets. Considering these data are advantageous because, 1) it is exactly on the final foundation location and is free from the uncertainties caused by spatial variability; 2) it is the true response of the foundation during installation and may shed some lights on the effect of installation on soil properties and consequently on poundation perfromance. Therefore we need to link the installation data with the final performance, and quantify the posterior uncertainty after the installation data is given.

For a position as a PhD Candidate, the goal is a completed doctoral education up to an obtained doctoral degree.

Background: The PhD position is a part of FME Northwind. The FME is financed by the Research Council of Norway. The primary objective for NorthWind is to bring forward outstanding research and innovation to reduce the cost of wind power and facilitate its sustainable development, which will grow exports and create new jobs.

Deadline for application: 31 January 2024

(Application i Norwegian)

Joint PhD Programme in Offshore Wind Energy

Through the NOWRIC collaboration, NTNU, SINTEF and DTU established a Joint PhD Programme in Offshore
Wind Energy to enable collaboration through co-supervision and one-year exchange of at least 4 PhD-students. NTNU and DTU also have a Joint Nordic Master’s degree programme on Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering with a study track ‘System Integration of Wind Power’.

NorthWind Winter School

An annual meeting place where young researchers from all over the world can hear new ideas, methods and theories within the wind energy field. It will be organised in the spring of 2024 and will consist of a series of lectures on a selected topic given by international experts with time for the exchange of ideas and networking.

Collaboration

An individual research plan will be developed for each PhD candidate based on the Centre’s research needs. Collaboration groups between PhD students, supervisors, SINTEF researchers and relevant industry partners will maximise synergy and integration at task level. Research will address scientific and technical knowledge gaps to achieve the Centre’s goals. PhD students and their supervisors will present their research at leading international conferences and annual NorthWind meetings and seminars.

International Academic Networks

The Centre will facilitate and fund PhDs to stay abroad with collaborating universities. Industry partners will provide short-term internship positions for innovation case studies. International exchange of research personnel with academic networks and internship arrangements with the Centre’s industry partners will contribute to knowledge exchange between the academic communities and the industry.

Introduction to offshore wind

NTNU launched a new, free continuing education course titled “Introduction to offshore wind” in early 2023. This first iteration of the course is financed by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills, and therefore free for students. It is designed to give a basic insight into the main principles of how offshore wind power works, and the environmental impact it has on its surroundings, with a focus on four aspects: Dynamic construction analysis of offshore wind turbines; Electrical infrastructure and system integration; Digital solutions for the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms; and Sustainable development of offshore wind power.

Meet our PhD candidates

Veronica Liverud Krathe

Veronica Liverud Krathe

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 1

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Prof. Erin Bachynski-Polić (NTNU), Prof. Amir R. Nejad (NTNU), Dr Jason Jonkman (NREL)

Period: 2021-2025

Thesis: Multiscale/-fidelity wind turbine dynamics models for structural design and control

In my thesis I will investigate multiscale dynamic analysis of offshore wind turbines, with the overall objective of reducing downtime and cost, increasing the competitiveness of offshore wind. Today’s aero-hydro-servo-elastic analysis tools simplify the drivetrain and account for wake effects through conservative wind field models. Large floating turbines are especially sensitive to the modelling of incoming turbulent flow and research has shown large differences in structural response between the synthetic turbulence models recommended by the standards. Moreover, methods for mitigating power loss from wakes, such as wake steering, could lead to increased fatigue damage in the drivetrain. All of the non-torque loads on the turbine rotor are transferred through the main bearings to the tower. Recent research indicates that main bearings fail prematurely, while being difficult to replace. This work will develop a method for coupled analyses of the drivetrain and wind turbine, allowing for bending degrees of freedom, as well as torsion. The necessity of such a tool will be investigated for different turbine sizes. Then, main bearing sensitivity to wake effects and synthetic turbulence models will be investigated.

Afolarinwa David Oyegbile

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 1

Nationality: Nigerian

Supervisor: Prof. Michael Muskulus (NTNU), Prof. Gudmund Eiksund (NTNU), Prof. Athanasios Kolios (DTU), Dr. Amy Robertson (NREL)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Reliability- and data-based structural design under industrial constraints

In my project, I will look to learn from existing industrial experiences and develop a holistic framework for structural design optimization of wind turbine support structures with the aim of achieving cost effective support structures. The design process involves uncertainties in the assumptions, models and results obtained. Considering such uncertainties generally requires the use of probabilistic mathematical models that severely complicate the design optimization problem that needs to be solved. My research will consider relevant design drivers (e.g. fatigue loads and soil conditions) as well as practical issues such as installation complexity and fabrication constraints while leveraging on recent developments in gradient-based design optimization methods to address these uncertainties.

Torfinn Ottesen

Torfinn Ottesen

Affiliation: NTNU, SINTEF Ocean

NorthWind WP: 2

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Prof. Svein Sævik (NTNU), Prof. Zhen Gao (NTNU), Senior Research Scientist Janne Gjøsteen (SINTEF Ocean)

Period: 2021-2025

Thesis: An approach for safe and cost-effective installation of offshore wind power cables

The power cable is an essential part of any wind turbine since the produced energy cannot be delivered without the power cable. To assure power cable functionality, the mechanical integrity of the power cable system must be assured in all phases – from cable manufacturing, through the offshore installation operation and during the operational life of the wind turbine plant. Strang-Moran (2020, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult) has reviewed causes of cable failures in the UK offshore wind industry. She reports that nearly half (46%) of cable failures are caused by installation errors. The rest is due to manufacturing issues (31%), inadequate cable design (15%) and mechanical damage after installation (8%). In my project I will improve the simulation models for predicting cable load during installation. Also, safe limits for combined tension, torsion and bending loads are studied. This may help reduce the number of cable failures caused during installation.

Vibeke Hvidegaard Petersen

Vibeke Hvidegaard Petersen

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 2

Nationality: Danish

Supervisors: Prof. Magnus Stålhane (NTNU), Prof. Stein W. Wallace (NHH)

Period: 2022-2026

Thesis: Predictive maintenance at offshore wind farms

According to IRENA (2022) operations and maintenance (O&M) costs for offshore wind ranged between 70-129 USD/kW in 2018. For onshore it was 33-56 USD/kW. These higher O&M costs for offshore wind are related to the harsh conditions at sea which makes maintenance planning a complex task. To ensure that the ambitions of offshore wind are viable, it is crucial to decrease the maintenance costs. The focus in my project is on effective logistics planning to reduce the cost of maintaining offshore wind farms, while at the same time maximizing the electricity output. I research how maintenance schedules can be optimized by using predictive models of degradations as input. The goal is to develop a solution methodology that combines predictive models of degradation, weather forecasts, data on vessel capabilities and logistics planning to deliver decision support for maintenance planners. To develop the methodology new exact and/or heuristic solution methods must be developed, based, e.g., on existing methods from mixed integer stochastic programming and/or simulation.

Lorrana Faria da Rocha

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 3

Nationality: Brazilian

Supervisor: Pål Keim Olsen (NTNU), Co-supervisors: Hendrik Vansompel (UGent), Elisabetta Tedeschi (NTNU), Erik Grøndahl (SGRE)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Power electronics architecture and control methods for a HVDC generator for offshore wind

The objective of my PhD project is to investigate suitable topologies for the converter modules and overall architecture design, as well as developing control algorithms for all operation modes of a modular HVDC generator for offshore wind energy. The proposal of a HVDC modular generator is to remove the use of the offshore substation/platform, which constitutes the energy conditioning elements for the HVDC transmission, by the connection in series of modules of a segmented HVDC generator. This modular series connection of converters has promising characteristics, such as cost reduction, increased efficiency and weight reduction. However, it is a system that has not yet been implemented commercially and needs many studies and tests to validate a practical application. Thus, the main scope of my Ph.D. study is to prove the feasibility of operating a modular HVDC generator for offshore wind energy focusing on the architecture and control of the electronic power converters.

Arkaitz Rabanal Alcubilla

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 3

Nationality: Spanish

Supervisor: Elisabetta Tedeschi (NTNU). Co-Supervisors: Salvatore D’Arco (Sintef Energy), Nicolaos Cutululis (DTU), Pål Keim Olsen (NTNU)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Energy Storage for Grid Services in HVDC Connected Offshore Wind Farms

This PhD project will research different options to provide grid ancillary services for offshore wind power plants by means of integrating energy storage into the HVDC transmission system.

 

The main aim is to embed and/or exploit energy storage into the different converters in the offshore wind power plants or offshore grid, in relation to the type of grid services required. Considering suitable storage technologies, aspects such as most convenient storage location, storage sizing and control implementation will be discussed. Finally, the feasibility of the proposed control solutions is expected to be validated in a laboratory environment at the National Smart Grid Lab of NTNU, reaching the Technology Readiness Level 4.

Ingvild Ånestad

Ingvild Ånestad

Affiliation: UiO

NorthWind WP: 3

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Prof. Catherine Banet (UiO), Silke Goldberg (UiO) 

Period: 2023-2027

Thesis: The regulatory framework for the development of offshore grid infrastructure in the North Sea, primarily focusing on Norway

In my project I will contribute to NorthWind’s Work Package 3 (WP3): Electrical infrastructure and system integration. The objective of WP3 is to develop reliable and cost-effective electric power components and system solutions to enable profitable large-scale deployment of offshore wind energy in the North Sea. WP3 includes a legal component, where legal research focuses on improving the applicable legal and regulatory framework.In my project I will review the current legislation for offshore grid infrastructure, more precisely the regulatory framework for market design, third party access, operatorship, tariffs, etc. I will also possibly suggest improvements to the framework, taking into account Norway’s special status as an energy nation and an EEA state. As part of my project, I will do a comparative study of selected North Sea countries, as well as include the perspective of common energy projects between North Sea countries.

Florian Stadtmann

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 4

Nationality: German

Supervisor: Prof. Adil Rasheed (NTNU), Prof. Trond Kvamsdal (NTNU), Prof. Omer San (OSU), Kjetil André Johannessen (SINTEF)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Enabling Technologies for Digital Twins

This project researches enabling technologies for digital twins. A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset enabled through data and models. The virtual representation can be used for various purposes such as condition monitoring, real-time prediction, optimisation, control, and informed decision-making.

In the first part of this project, a survey with NorthWind’s industry partners has been conducted where the state-of-the-art in digital twin development is presented and challenges are identified that require further research. Several recommendations are provided for existing and emerging technologies that address these challenges and enable the industry-wide deployment of digital twins. Read the full article here: Digital Twins in Wind Energy: Emerging Technologies and Industry-Informed Future Directions.

The second part of the project aims to extend the research on enabling technologies of digital twins and demonstrate their value through the implementation of digital twins for a series of user cases. The user cases cover data aggregation, modeling, analysis, and visualisation. An emphasis is put on the utilisation of hybrid analysis and modelling, which combines physics-based and data-driven models for optimal model performance.

Wanwan Zhang

Wanwan Zhang

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 4

Nationality: Chinese

Supervisor: Prof. Jørn Vatn (NTNU), Prof. Adil Rasheed (NTNU)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Predictive Maintenance and Decision Support for Asset Management 

This project is aimed at the predictive maintenance of offshore wind turbines. Predictive maintenance is a regime for optimal and timely maintenance. It predicts exactly when the system will fail and when to maintain it before the failure actually happens. Remaining useful lifetime (RUL) predictions based on sensor measurements will be the basis for research. Statistical reliability data interfaced with predictions for weather windows, operation planning and logistic resources will give support for decision making in maintenance scheduling. My research will focus on developing the hybrid model integrating machine learning methods, mathematical models, and physical-based models to predict and optimize the maintenance of offshore wind turbines. 

Chrysi Danelaki

Chrysi Danelaki

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Greek

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christian A. Klöckner (NTNU)

Period: 2023-2027

Thesis: The impact of technological attributes, psychological factors, and personal variables on onshore and offshore wind energy acceptance in Norway

The purpose of the PhD research is to investigate the prospective effects of psychological and background (mainly socio-demographic) variables, as well as onshore and offshore wind energy characteristics, for acceptance of onshore and offshore wind energy. Identifying which wind energy characteristics influence the fluctuation of individuals’ acceptance in each wind energy project phase (siting, construction, operation) will add to the existing literature on communication and community engagement practices related to wind energy. Moreover, the aim to detect relations between onshore and offshore wind energy acceptance will expand the comprehensive body of literature, as we will build upon the onshore wind energy paradigm to find the most promising offshore wind energy approach. Lastly, I will attempt to test, compare, and integrate variables of different acceptance-related theoretical frameworks to increase the acceptance predictability.

Gullik-André Fjordbo

Gullik-André Fjordbo

Affiliation: UiO

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Prof. Ivar Alvik (UiO), Associate Prof. Katrine Broch Hauge (UiO)

Period: 2022-2026

Thesis: Impact assessments of wind power plants

One of the goals of the FME NorthWind is to develop tools and insights for sustainable development of wind energy to create a successful export industry, reduce cost and uncertainty, and resolve environmental and societal conflicts (Work Package 5). Regulations that mandate appropriate impact assessments may contribute to achieve this goal. My plan is to review the current legislation and possibly suggest how the rules can be improved to make the process more efficient and predictable, as well as effective in mitigating conflicts.

Pankaj Ravindra Gode

Pankaj Ravindra Gode

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Indian

Supervisor: Prof. Arild Aspelund (NTNU), Ass. Prof. Øyvind Bjørgum (NTNU)

Period: 2021-2025

Thesis: Circular Business Development of Offshore Wind Energy

My research is focused on the integration of circular economy (CE) with the offshore wind industry. Throughout the period of my PhD project, I will be looking at different circular business models, product design strategies, and CE frameworks that are compatible with the offshore wind industry.

My research has a dual focus: developing circular and sustainable business practices for the end-of-life management of offshore wind farms that are decommissioning in the near future. Secondly, to create business-viable CE strategies for designing future offshore wind farms to keep the components and materials in longer usage cycles than their expected lifespan and minimize waste production at the end of their life.

Julian Lahuerta

Julian Lahuerta

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Prof. Asbjørn Karlsen (NTNU)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Harnessing Norwegian maritime industrial capabilities in the emerging US offshore wind industry

My research project examines how Norwegian offshore wind firms adapt to the particularities of the U.S. federalist institutional system, whether Norwegian firm strategies and stakeholder engagement differs depending on the locality in question, and what the implications are for Norwegian regional development. This project will focus on two Norwegian led projects in the U.S., the Empire Wind project led by Equinor in New York State, which utilizes fixed-bottom technology, and the more distant project led by Aker Solutions off the coast of California, which utilizes floating technology. Both cases will employ a mixed-method qualitative framework that draw on primary data compiled from semi-structured interviews, policy documents and newspaper articles, in addition to secondary data compiled from document analysis and databases. Theoretically, this project contributes to recent discussions within economic geography and transition studies that highlight the variegated nature of national institutions and the importance of exogenous factors in regional industrial development.

Birgitte Nygaard

Birgitte Nygaard

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Danish

Supervisor: Prof. Tomas Moe Skjølsvold (NTNU), Ass. Prof. Robert Næss (NTNU)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: The framing of Norwegian Wind Energy futures – the cases of Svalbard and Sørlige Nordsjø II

In my project, I examine the framings of Norwegian wind energy futures, which directions for development are envisioned, and how these link to Norwegian national identity and geopolitics. The research is carried out using a mix of qualitative methods such as field work, interviews with stakeholders, policy document analysis, as well as media analysis. My research focusses on two cases – the energy transition of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and the area for offshore development, Sørlige Nordsjø II. A special focus is placed on the role of shocks (such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the energy crisis, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine), how these are utilised by different actors to promote their position within discussions over how energy transitions – and the role of wind power – could and should be designed, and which perceived burdens and benefits are linked to it.

Øyvind Torgersrud

Øyvind Torgersrud

This PhD is associated with NorthWind but financed through other sources.

Affiliation: Laboratoire 3SR, Université Grenoble Alpes & NGI

NorthWind WP: 1

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Gioacchino Viggiani (3SR), Hans Petter Jostad (NGI), Jose E Andrade (Caltech), Edward Ando (EPFL)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Numerical and experimental analysis of fabric evolution in granular soil under cyclic loading

The main objective of my PhD project is to improve fundamental understanding and predictive modelling of granular soils under cyclic loading. This is done through experimental and numerical investigation of the microstructure (fabric) evolution during cycles. The hypotheses are: i) change in fabric is the main driver for changes in response between cycles, ii) change in fabric can be quantified from XRCT (X-ray Computed Tomography) imaging of experiments and numerically from Level Set DEM (LS-DEM) simulations, iii) a state parameter, such as a memory surface, can be used to describe this effect, and can be expressed in a constitutive framework for the sand. First, the abilities and limitations of LS-DEM modelling to accurately simulate the macroscopic response of sand under cyclic loading is investigated. Second, triaxial testing, combined with X-ray tomography imaging, is used for calibration and experimental validation of the LS-DEM model. The XRCT images and numerical LS-DEM model will be used together to study the evolution of fabric descriptors and evaluate if a state parameter can be established to describe the cyclic behaviour of sand.

Yannick Cyiza Karekezi

This PhD is associated with NorthWind but financed through other sources.

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 3

Nationality: Norwegian

Supervisor: Pål Keim Olsen. Co-supervisors: Robert Nilssen (NTNU), Hendrik Vansompel (UGent), Erik Grøndahl (SGRE)

Period: 2021-2024

Thesis: Novel Modular HVDC Generator for Offshore Wind

In this Ph.D. project a compact and modular HVDC generator is seen as a feasible solution to higher energy efficiency and lower cost in offshore wind energy generation and distribution. By producing high DC voltage, above 100 kV, in the first conversion step, the subsequent conversion steps are eliminated. In addition, the modular structure of the HVDC generator has in-built fault tolerance capability, potentially increasing the availability of wind turbines. The drastic reduction in conversion steps due to the use of the HVDC generator may help the market to meet its goals for reducing the cost of energy from renewable energy sources. The concept may increase the benefits of HVDC power systems and make it feasible to replace parts of the HVAC system that is used today. The challenges with the technology are multidisciplinary and range from electromechanical to thermal and high voltage insulation design of the generator modules, choice of module converter topology and optimum control strategies, as well as a protection system able to clear internal DC faults within the machine. The focus of my Ph.D. study is the design of an HVDC generator for offshore wind, primarily studying electromechanical and thermal design.

Daniel Sukhman

Daniel Sukhman

This PhD is associated with NorthWind but financed through other sources.

Affiliation: HVL (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences)

NorthWind WP: 4

Nationality: German

Supervisor: Gloria Stenfelt (HVL), Jan Bartl (HVL) + 1 additional Supervisor (TBD)

Period: 2023-2027

Thesis: Computational modelling of wind turbine wake recovery mechanisms in turbulent inflow

The rapid growth of offshore wind energy underscores the need for optimising renewable energy sources. However, turbine wakes remain a challenge, causing energy losses and turbine wear. Bridging the gap between large-scale wind farm models and small-scale Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations is essential for a comprehensive understanding of wake dynamics. My research focuses on enhancing the understanding of single and cumulative wake recovery mechanisms, uniting CFD expertise with computational engineering methods. The study aims to improve engineering wake models, considering meteorological conditions, and validate them through lab-scale and full-scale data. Subsequently, the refined models will be employed for optimising turbine and wind farm properties to increase overall power output.

Nikki Luttikhuis

Nikki Luttikhuis

This PhD is associated with NorthWind but financed through other sources.

Affiliation: SINTEF Industry & NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: Dutch

Supervisor: Øyvind Bjørgum (NTNU), Kirsten Wiebe (SINTEF)

Period: 2021-2025

Thesis: Technology impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals, an interlinkages approach

My research project focuses on how technologies can link towards the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how, considering the technology context, these targets in turn interlink with each other. By researching SDG target interlinkages, synergies (that will accelerate goal achievement) and trade-offs (that hamper goal achievement) will be identified. In order to research this, I develop a qualitative focus group approach in order to systematically research how five different technologies link towards the SDGs. Offshore wind is one of the technologies researched within the SDG interlinkages method. After this, input-output modelling will be combined with the qualitative analysis of SDG interlinkages to quantitatively assess the impacts of offshore wind on the different SDG targets.

Lukas Seifert

Lukas Seifert

This PhD is associated with NorthWind but financed through other sources.

Affiliation: NTNU

NorthWind WP: 5

Nationality: German

Supervisor: Bente Jessen Graae (NTNU)

Period: 2023-2026

Thesis: Ecological restoration in onshore wind energy projects

Biodiversity is declining worldwide and human land use change, as well as climate change, have been identified as the main drivers of this biodiversity crisis. To tackle climate change, the development of renewables like onshore wind is increasing rapidly. However, while reducing atmospheric carbon inputs, onshore wind power plants can cause ecosystem degradation for example by damaging vegetation, soils, and hydrology throughout different project stages. The goal of my project is to better understand the potential of onshore wind energy to degrade ecosystems. By adding to this knowledge gap, the need for ecological restoration after decommissioning can be properly realized and effective restoration strategies developed. Overall, this helps make wind energy more sustainable as it resolves conflicts between emission-free energy production and the existence of natural ecosystems.

Master's students

FME NorthWind has a target of 200 wind power-related MSc/BSc for the duration of the centre. You can see some of these by consulting the Wind power Master’s list on the NTNU Open website, and the Wind power Master’s list on the UiO Duo website.

Want to learn more? Don't hesitate to get in touch.