Maik Scheltinga is pursuing his master’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Groningen. He previously completed the same Bachelor’s study. “The bachelor had a great variety of courses, whereas the master allows for more specialisation. There is a lot of freedom to choose the courses to your liking. I chose the Production Logistics Engineering track with a special interest for optimisation.  

How did you end up at Ventolines? “I knew Gijs van der Veen through my study association, he works at Ventolines as a developer of sustainable energy projects. Gijs shared some internship opportunities via LinkedIn and I was immediately intrigued. To be honest, I slightly hesitated to apply because, for this particular internship, Ventolines was looking for someone with a strong technical background. However, after some contact with Gijs, I got very excited. After getting further acquainted with Ventolines, I realised it was a good fit.”  

“I had the opportunity to work with a lot of talented people, who have so much knowledge regarding renewable energy projects. Plus, everyone is so enthusiastic that I had the feeling I learned something new every day.” 

You are completing your master’s thesis, what have you been working on these past months? “The topic of my thesis is offshore wind site layout optimisation. The transition to renewable energy is accelerating, which is why there is an increasing demand for offshore wind energy. Moreover, the projects are getting bigger and more challenging. To design a wind farm as efficiently as possible, the positioning of the wind turbines is very important.”   

“The question ‘How do you design the layout of a wind farm as optimal as possible?” was central to my research. An essential aspect of this problem is the wake effects within a wind farm. Placing many wind turbines close to each other impacts the airflow. As a result, some wind turbines will extract less energy from the wind than others. In the end, we developed a tool that is capable of optimising the layout of a wind farm relatively quickly. This allows us to better understand how much energy the wind farm can generate. Currently, many wind farms are designed symmetrically due to visual impact, fishery or ecological reasons. As a consequence, a wind farm might generate 2-3% less energy.  

What was a highlight of your internship? “I was able to apply my tool directly to an international offshore wind project. This immediately gave me a case study to assess my model. In this project, several scenarios were designed, in which the model was able to show that optimisation could yield 2% more energy production. This may not sound like a lot but, in projects like this, we are talking about huge sums of money. It validates the importance of optimisation. ”  

“Before my internship, I wondered what kind of organisation I would end up in. Now, as I look back, I reflect on a rewarding learning experience. Everyone at Ventolines is eager to learn and is very passionate, which creates a very stimulating environment.” 

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