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PICS Colloquium: “Wind, Waves, and Wakes: Large Eddy Simulation of Full-Scale Offshore Wind Farms under Realistic Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions”

October 6 @ 2:00 PM3:00 PM

Speaker: Michael Mueller, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University


Title: Wind, Waves, and Wakes: Large Eddy Simulation of Full-Scale Offshore Wind Farms under Realistic Atmospheric and Oceanic Conditions



Ambitious targets on aggressive timelines have been heralded for the development of offshore wind energy in the United States, especially in New Jersey with a target of 11 GW (nearly 2/3 of current generation) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2040. With these targets and timelines, immense effort is required to minimize risk (financial risk, energy system risk, and environmental risk), and computational simulations of full-scale offshore wind farms under realistic atmospheric and oceanic conditions will be absolutely critical in siting, operations, forecasting, and understanding potential climate impacts. Such computational simulations are exceptionally challenging due to the multi-physics, multi-scale nature of the problem from the smallest scales of the waves and the turbulence to the multi-kilometer scales of the farms. As a result, for full-scale farm simulations with Large Eddy Simulation (LES), much of the key physical phenomena will be unresolved. In this seminar, our efforts toward full-scale farm simulations with LES will be discussed. Our computationally efficient wall-modeled LES framework combines an Actuator Disk Model for the wind turbines with a drag force-based model for the influence of the oceanic waves on the marine atmospheric boundary layer, which avoids ad hoc parameterization of oceanic waves as a simple roughness but at no increased cost. Our wall-modeled framework is shown to be orders of magnitude less expensive than wall-resolved/wave-phase-resolved simulations without any loss in accuracy. Recent efforts have focused on extending our approach to oceanic wave spectra, including a dynamic procedure to characterize completely unresolved waves, and to swell. Finally, using our framework, the sensitivity of offshore wind farms to wave characteristics is assessed to demonstrate that the waves are a leading order influence on offshore wind farm performance.



Michael E. Mueller is the Associate Chair of and Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. Since 2020, he is also jointly appointed as a Faculty Researcher at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He received a BS degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007, a MS degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2009, and a PhD degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 2012. His research interests encompass computational modeling of multi-physics turbulent flows with applications to energy and propulsion, including combustion, offshore wind, and plasma, as well as broader areas of computational and data sciences including uncertainty quantification, algorithms for heterogeneous computational architectures, and data-based modeling and algorithms. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Among other awards and recognitions for his research, he has been recognized with the Hiroshi Tsuji Early Career Research Award from The Combustion Institution and the Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award from the Army Research Office. He has also received the Princeton University Graduate Mentoring Award and been named to the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science Commendation List for Outstanding Teaching in 11 semesters.


October 6
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
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Julia Esposito


PICS Large Conference Room – 534
3401 Walnut Street, 5A
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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