Jan-Willem van Wingerden appointed professor of data driven control

News - 21 December 2017 - Webredactie 3ME

Associate professor Jan-Willem van Wingerden has been appointed full professor of data driven control at the Delft Centre for Systems and Control as of 12 December. Jan-Willem van Wingerden’s research focuses on the measurement and control technology of large-scale mechatronic systems that are propelled by a disruption such as wind or waves. His research is unique because it is on the interface of measurement and control technology and mechanical engineering.

Jan-Willem van Wingerden

‘As one of the few mechanical engineers at the DCSC Department, I find it fascinating, in addition to developing control algorithms, to also demonstrate the effects of control technology in a realistic environment, for example during field and wind tunnel experiments. If I see things moving in the model then I want to really see it in the application as well. I apply this principle to my research in the area of wind farms. This has led to an efficient control strategy: the data-driven control cycle.’ 

Jan-Willem van Wingerden

Data-driven control cycle

In order to operate large-scale systems, Wingerden has developed a control strategy: the data-driven control cycle. By constantly making measurements in a realistic test environment, he sheds light on the effects of disruption via data-based models, and he uses these models to adjust the controller. These large-scale systems are most commonly found in the areas of wind energy, offshore and high-tech systems.

Jan-Willem van Wingerden’s research is mainly applied in the domain of wind energy. His aim is to use the data-driven control cycle to maximise the energy production of wind turbines and simultaneously minimise the stress on them. Van Wingerden believes in the future of self-positioning floating wind farms. According to him, they have enormous potential: these futuristic wind farms can generate up to forty per cent more energy. Moreover, they last a lot longer because they are less stressed. And that is because floating wind turbines that are standing still are better at dealing with wakes than the present wind turbines. When a wind turbine harnesses energy from the wind, the speed of the wind decreases and, moreover, a turbulent current is produced. This affects the wind turbine behind this one, because not only does it produce less energy as there is less wind, but the vibrations also make the rotor blades malfunction quicker. The closer the wind turbines are to each other in a farm, the greater these two negative effects will be. Van Wingerden would like to do something about that by developing self-positioning floating wind farms. These farms would work together like a team of smart, self-driving cars and constantly search for the ideal position in order to produce as much energy as possible, on the one hand, and decrease the effect of turbulence as much as possible, on the other hand, so that they last longer. It is possible for these turbines to work together because in the future every wind turbine will have measurement equipment to gauge the wind force, the wind direction and the vibrations. These data will subsequently be processed via algorithms to determine what the best position is for each turbine.

Jan Willem van Wingerden (1980) graduated cum laude in mechanical engineering at TU Delft in 2004. In 2008 he obtained his doctorate, cum laude, in mechanical engineering at the Delft Centre for Systems and Control (DCSC) for his study Control of Wind Turbines with ‘Smart’ Rotors: Proof of Concept & LPV Subspace. After obtaining his doctorate, Wingerden started working as a tenure tracker at DCSC (3mE). In 2012 he was awarded an NWO Veni grant for his research on Reconfigurable wind farms, and he became associate professor in 2013. From 2013 to 2016 he was chosen best lecturer of the control engineering master programme twice and best lecturer of the systems control master once.