Sophie Whistler, postgraduate researcher, CDT SuMMeR: Cohort 1

Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (CDT SuMMeR)

<p>Sophie Whistler, CDT Summer<br></p>

Background

My degree in renewable energy engineering taught me core engineering skills with an application to all 7 forms of renewable energy. I conducted projects and placements across all stages of energy projects from resource assessment to electrical transmission. I then worked as a wind farm analyst where I designed wind farm layouts, analysed wind data, ran wake models, and calculated expected energy yields for proposed onshore and offshore wind farms around the world. 

Research interests

  • Satellite oceanography
  • wave modelling
  • data science
  • machine learning
  • offshore renewable energy.

PhD research: Characterising the dynamics of offshore wind farms by combining data science and oceanographic techniques

The aim of this project is to use satellite data to better understand the marine conditions across offshore wind farm sites. Readily available measurements from satellites can provide information on wave conditions over an offshore wind farm area and the surrounding ocean and coastlines. Using data science techniques to combine satellite data with wave buoy measurements and numerical models can improve the speed, accuracy, and accessibility of marine forecasting. Improved forecasting is necessary to optimise operations and maintenance for offshore wind farms, especially as wind turbines are installed further from shore and in more extreme marine environments. This will aid in reducing the costs associated with offshore wind, increasing the amount of renewable energy we use and decarbonising our energy supply. 

Why I applied for the CDT SuMMeR

It sounded fun! The PhD project combined several personal interests with my wind energy background and has a useful application to advancing the renewable energy industry, which is important to me. The transdisciplinary nature of CDT SuMMeR appealed as an exciting environment where I can learn to be an effective researcher and interact with a wide range of experts from different fields.