Internship | Aeroelastic assessment of a wind turbine blade with a winglet



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


Apply now


One of the opportunities to further improve the design of modern wind turbine blades is to focus on the development of specific innovations for the blade tips. In this framework, designing wind turbine tips based on winglet-like shapes is a promising application. If properly designed indeed, such shapes can improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the rotor by reducing the tip losses. However, the aeroelastic performance of blades with winglets needs to be carefully verified to evaluate the effect that similar devices have on the structural loads. The standard aeroelastic blade design tools used by the industry are based on the blade element momentum (BEM) theory. BEM theory is a reliable and fast approach, but it is based on several simplifications which make it unsuitable to account for the complex aerodynamics of winglets. More advanced aerodynamic approaches, like Free Vortex Wake (FVW) methods, allow the modelling of those aerodynamic phenomena occurring around a winglet. Despite being more computationally expensive than BEM, FVW-based tools have become fast enough to be integrated in aeroelastic calculations.

What will be your role?

The objective of the advertised internship is to assess the effect of winglet-like shapes on the aeroelastic loads of wind turbine blades. More specifically, the intern is required to verify the structural performance of an existing winglet design devised to improve the aerodynamic performance of a commercial wind turbine blade. The assessment is carried out by:
  • Performing aeroelastic simulations of a real wind turbine rotor mounting these blades with winglets.
  • Post-processing and critically analyzing the results based on the existing literature.
  • Preparing an internship report describing the work performed and the results obtained.
The aeroelastic calculations will be performed using a newly developed tool that couples TNO’s aerodynamic solver Aero-Module with NREL’s structural software OpenFAST. Aero-Module offers the option to use both BEM and FVW approaches.

The internship will be carried out in close collaboration with at least two TNO researchers and will offer the candidate the opportunity to be part of an international research group working on Wind Energy. The selected intern will also interact with engineers from a partner company.

How do you want to contribute to tomorrow's world? How big can your impact be? Come and work at TNO and envision it.

What we expect from you

Minimum requirements:
  • Knowledge of wind turbine aerodynamics and structural dynamics.
  • Good analytical skills.
  • Strong interest in wind turbine aeroelastic modelling.
Preferred skills:
  • Experience with wind turbine aeroelastic modelling tools.

What you’ll get in return

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.

The selection process

After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.

Due to Covid-19 and the consequent uncertainties and restrictions, students who are not residing in the Netherlands may currently not be able to start an internship or graduation project at TNO.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.

Contact: Marco Caboni
Phone number: +31625714361

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


Apply now