The LEGI in collaboration with Portland State University, is seeking a candidate for a PhD on the experimental study of the coupling of solar farms, turbulent flows, and particles.

Solar power is rising in prevalence, and open deserts are ideal locations for solar farms worldwide, but excessive heat and wind-propelled debris reduce efficiency in power output and induce degradation in their expected life. Increased velocity and mixing promote capture of material from desert floors causing higher rates of deposition and fatigue-inducing impact even in mild conditions. This results in significant power generation losses of the photovoltaic panels of up to 35% and the need to use costly cleaning methods, that involve unsustainable large amounts of water and human labor. We will investigate particle deposition over surfaces, and their transport as a function of size distribution. Such particles have a complex dynamic of their own, as the coupling between their inertia and the turbulent flow can result in complex phenomena such as preferential concentration and settling velocity modifications.


This PhD project consists on an experimental study on the coupling of solar farms, turbulent flows, and particles. This therefore focuses on the two-phase flow surrounding the photovoltaic panels. The expected output of this work is to find strategies for alleviating particle deposition.

The present project involves experimental campaigns in both LEGI (Grenoble, France) and PSU (Portland State University, USA). Experiments will be carried out at the wind tunnels available in both institutions. They are both equipped with active grids. PSU also has a 3D PIV system, while in LEGI it is possible to generate two-phase flows in the wind tunnel (and perform 2D-2C and 2D-3C PIV).


The PhD student will partition time equally between PSU and LEGI.


You will find out more information about the job offer in the dowloadable PDF document.


Deadline for the application: 10/07/2020


Martin Obligado (LEGI)

Henda Djeridi (LEGI)

Raul Bayoán Cal (PSU)


Job description
PDF format 



LEGI website 

Dynamics of particles on solar panels farms under turbulent environmental conditions
Project description