The Sky is the Limit: The Science and Potential of Flying Wind Farms
“To overcome the technological, economic, environmental and social challenges that are currently stalling the development of offshore wind energy and help it grow to its full potential, we have to shift to sustainable wind farming.” This is Carlos Simao Ferreira’s message in his inaugural speech as Full Professor of Wind Energy Science at TU Delft. Simao Ferreira’s ambition is to radically change wind farms from constructions that exhaust wind resources, into ingenious systems that actively generate lift to channel wind to and from higher atmospheric regions, using momentum and energy.” This technology is expected to improve wind farm efficiency by an impressive 25-40%. The inaugural speech will take place on 29 September 2023 at 15.00 at the Aula Congress Centre Delft. The speech will be streamed live and a recording will remain available online.
Sustainable Wind Farming
Wind energy, and offshore wind energy in particular, is considered a pivotal technology in the energy transition. “But even now, with only 3% of the expected capacity actually realized, we come across several technological, economic, environmental, and social challenges. Think for example of efficiency losses in large wind farms, turbine failures and concerns of increasing environmental impact. To overcome these challenges we have to move to Sustainable Wind Farming”, says Carlos Simao Ferreira, Full Professor of Wind Energy Science at TU Delft.
Simao Ferreira: “A wind farm is much more than just a collection of individual wind turbines. The energy conversion mechanism of a wind farm is fundamentally different from that of a single wind turbine.” Professor Simao Ferreira and his Wind Energy Science team are designing a completely new concept of wind farms, aiming at atmospheric energy extraction. The group has been testing and validating innovative wind energy systems designed to control the air flows in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer. Through wind tunnel tests, computational fluid dynamics simulations, and the application to wind farm models, they have shown the potential to amplify wind farm efficiency by an impressive 25-40% by flying up both the exhausted wind and flying wind from higher altitudes towards the wind farm.”
This improvement in efficiency solves many of the challenges. It for example decreases the environmental footprint as less space, material and human resources are needed to build the wind farm. But it also makes offshore wind energy accessible for countries that currently can’t afford it.
We have to radically change wind farms from mere "forests of drag" exhausting wind resources, into ingenious systems that actively generate lift to channel wind to and from higher atmospheric regions, using momentum and energy.
Blending research and education
Besides his groundbreaking research, Prof. Simao Ferreira is also a very active educator in wind energy. He is the programme director of the MSc in Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft, the Head of Studies of the European Wind Energy Master programme, and the Chair of the Scientific Communication Committee of the European Academy of Wind Energy which develops initiatives for open education spanning from childhood to lifelong learning. In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Ferreira will also address the role of education in reaching a sustainable future powered by wind energy.
Visitors to the inaugural speech will have the opportunity to visit an exhibition of ongoing research and researchers, including cool experimental setups. Professor Simao Ferreira was already appointed Full Professor of Wind Energy Science in 2019. His inaugural address was delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
More information and contact
The Inaugural speech of Professor Carlos Simao Ferreira will take place on Friday 29 September 2023 at 15.00 at the Aula Congress Centre, Mekelweg 5, Delft.