Published: July 7, 2022
Sam Friess

Samantha Friess has earned a 2022 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.

Friess, a mechanical engineering PhD student at the University of Colorado Boulder, is being recognized through the Department of Defense program, which provides full tuition coverage and a stipend to honorees for up to three years.

She is one of 165 students nationwide receiving the honor this year. The Congressionally-chartered program is designed to promote promising young U.S. scientists and engineers.

Through the program, she will develop computational models to enable design engineers to better study prospective wind farm sites, resulting in layouts that maximize energy efficiency, optimize total power output, and minimize turbine structural loading.

"I am hopeful that, through my work, I will contribute to the fight against climate change by developing tools for engineers to more effectively harness the massive potential of wind energy," Friess said.

She is focused on interactions between the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and wind turbines operating within it. The development of turbulence within this atmospheric zone is highly dependent upon regional climate, surrounding topography, local terrain, the current season, and time of day.

The research will include development of an extensive data-driven ABL simulation framework to visualize the turbulent inflow fields of wind farms. The system will utilize machine learning to inform models with the goal of creating a higher accuracy turbulence simulation framework that can account for the variables that contribute most to turbulence generation in the boundary layer.