Support Us

Ensure affordable clean and modern energy

Mathematical simulations and offshore wind farms: a perfect match

Department of Mathematics & Computer Science @ TU/e | Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)

Did you know that 40 square kilometers of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea could provide the Netherlands with all the energy we need? It’s unlikely this will ever become reality, but we do know that in the future, a large-scale expansion of offshore wind energy is expected in the Netherlands. For this expansion, a well-designed offshore network is needed. Benjamin Sanderse, a PhD-graduate from the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the TU/e, conducted research that resulted in advanced mathematical methods that are able to produce a reliable simulation of offshore wind farms in the Netherlands


Developers and builders of wind farms at open sea still have a lot of questions, such as ‘What is the best location to put wind turbines at sea’, ‘How large do the turbines have to be to perform best’, ‘How big does a wind farm have to be’ and ‘What is the optimal distance between different wind turbines’. To find answers to these questions, it helps to be able to do a computer simulation of a wind farm. Benjamin Sanderse worked on the development of such a simulation program.


Sanderse used computational science that enables the simulation of processes, phenomena and systems that cannot be studied otherwise. A big help and an advantage for builders of offshore wind farms.
When you place offshore wind turbines closely together in a wind farm, a big problem arises. The wind turbines affect each other through their wakes (highly variable turbulent wind flows consisting of numerous large and small vortices). The wakes, which can be hundreds of meters long, cause a lower energy of production and higher loads on downstream turbines. But on the other hand they cause an extra inflow of air, amplifying the wind in the farm. Because of the vast number of vortices, a high amount of computing power is needed to determine the air flow inside the wakes. Reliably predicting these air flows was a large challenge in Sanderse’s research.

EUROS project

As follow-up of this research, project EUROS is now running. Thirteen PhD-students are working on the research project, that is conducted by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the TU/e together with Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, Wageningen University and Delft University of Technology. EUROS stands for Excellence in Uncertainty Reduction for Offshore wind Systems. It is a great example of multidisciplinary research, solving complex engineering problems by using advanced mathematics and computer science methodologies.
In the development and building of wind farms, there is still little knowledge about the influence of driving piles and fatigue and aging of wind turbines. EUROS consists of three closely connected projects: external conditions, loads and damage, and wind farm design. The results of the three research projects will be used by Ballast Nedam, DNV-GL, Eneco, Fugro, Heerema, IHC, Van Oord, System Navigator and TNO.


Pioneering research was conducted by PhD-student Benjamin Sanderse at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Eindhoven University of Technology. Barry Koren (Scientific Computing at TU/e) was his promoter. The CWI was also involved, commissioned and funded by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). For his thesis entitled ‘Energy-conserving discretization methods for the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations’, Benjamin Sanderse received the distinction cum laude and the Stieltjes Award.