Graduate students selected to investigate the future of offshore wind in New Jersey


By Colton Poore, for the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment


The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment has selected four Princeton graduate students, including Nicholas Conlin and Hannah Hata Williams from MAE, to participate in the 2023-2024 New Jersey Wind Institute Fellowship.

The fellows will conduct independent research projects in collaboration with a Princeton faculty adviser during the 2023-2024 academic year, as well as the following summer. As a part of the program, they will meet regularly with other fellows from universities and colleges across New Jersey to discuss offshore wind research challenges, explore regulatory processes applicable to offshore wind, meet with wind industry experts, and visit operating offshore wind facilities. They will also present their findings at an Offshore Wind Energy Symposium, which will take place at the end of the spring 2024 semester.

Coastal boundary layer effects on offshore wind energy production in New Jersey


Offshore wind farms lie in a transitional region between marine and land winds known as a coastal boundary

nick conlin

layer. A better understanding of the winds in this transitional region is a key enabler of effective offshore wind energy planning. However, coastal boundary layers are shaped by the unique geography of a region, and relevant features span a wide range of length scales. Conlin, a graduate student in mechanical and aerospace engineering, in collaboration with his adviser Marcus Hultmark, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will conduct a field measurement campaign to characterize winds along the New Jersey coastline. Data relevant to offshore wind farms will be collected using both custom and commercially purchased sensors, with an emphasis on determining diurnal variations in mean wind and turbulence levels. The data collected through Conlin’s project will offer unique insight into the effects of coastal boundary layers on offshore wind energy and help to establish New Jersey as a leader in the burgeoning domestic offshore wind industry.



Relative impacts of environmental factors on finite offshore wind farms

The continued development of offshore wind energy along the East Coast requires computationally efficient models that can predict full-scale wind farm energy production in order to inform the siting, design, and operation of offshore wind farms. However, most computational frameworks for offshore wind energy were

hannah williams

 developed based on characteristics of large wind farms found in the North Sea. The smaller wind farms and unique atmospheric and oceanic phenomena along the Atlantic coast violate many of the assumptions made about these larger farms. Williams, a graduate student in mechanical and aerospace engineering working with Michael Mueller, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Luc Deike, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the High Meadows Environmental Institute, will leverage the group’s new Computational Fluid Dynamics framework to model full-scale, finite wind farms along the East Coast. The specific focus will be to use the framework to understand how waves generated from distant storms — such that the wind and the waves are misaligned — will influence the performance of offshore wind farms. The work will unlock important insight into the interaction between atmospheric and oceanic conditions to inform future offshore wind farm planning, design, and development efforts.

Now in its second year, the Wind Institute Fellowship Program, established by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), supports students at select New Jersey institutions of higher learning with the goal of advancing knowledge and expertise around the offshore wind industry in New Jersey and the surrounding region. Princeton University joined the Wind Institute Fellowship Program in 2023.

This article was adapted from an Andlinger Center news release.