Anna-Maria Tilg

Meet the future – PhD student Anna-Maria Tilg from DTU Wind Energy

Monday 03 Feb 20


Anna-Maria Tilg
PhD student
DTU Wind Energy
+45 93 51 06 82

Anna-Maria Tilg is a PhD student at DTU Wind Energy and comes from a village close to the mountainous Innsbruck in Austria. She is a meteorologist and passionate about studying the weather - and its significance for the erosion of wind turbine blades. On a rare sunny morning in January, she tells about her life as a PhD student in Denmark.

Why did you choose DTU Wind Energy for your PhD studies?
“A teacher at the University of Innsbruck in Austria told me about Risø and the things going on here. He was employed at Risø as a postdoc in the 1990’s and often quoted researchers from DTU Wind Energy,” says Anna-Maria Tilg.

She finds the many different areas of work of the department inspiring. Originally, her area of work was related to hydropower but she wanted to learn more about wind energy. At the section for meteorology and remote sensing she can combine her interests in meteorology and renewable energy. With her background as a meteorologist she is used to predicting the weather, and with the research at DTU Wind Energy's project Erosion, she looks into the impact of rain for the erosion on the leading edges of wind turbine blades. "It surprised me to see how little focus there has been on the connection between erosion of wind turbine blades and the weather," she says.

When asked what her field of research is, she answers that she is especially concerned with predicting and measuring precipitation. These two aspects are important to detect severe precipitation events that can cause erosion of the leading edges. If you know the time of such events, it is possible to slow down the rotation of the wind turbine blades. The slower rotation is resulting in less erosion of the wind turbine blades – which is a key aspect in the Erosion project. Professor Charlotte Bay Hasager is leading the project, and she is Anna-Maria’s supervisor, too. Anna-Maria is taking part of making the measurements around the country. These are part of the project and done with a so-called disdrometer, which is a sensor using a laser for measuring the type, size and speed of the precipitation particles. By using a disdrometer you get much more information compared to traditional measurements of precipitation which are usually mainly about the amount of precipitation.

Where is your research going to be used?
“Generally, we see a great interest in research into erosion of wind turbine blades. The companies E.ON and Vattenfall are involved in the collaboration, and I am making measurements at wind turbines from these companies,” says Anna-Maria. She also mentions that Ørsted has shown interest in the area. "The research is particularly relevant for offshore wind farms because the erosion of offshore wind turbines is far more pronounced compared to those on land," she elaborates.

However, one thing is the purely professional aspect of the life of the PhD student here in Denmark - another is the new culture she encounters at the Danish workplace.

How do you experience the culture here in Denmark and at the department?
“As a researcher, you are usually open to others. However, here in Denmark the doors are always open and the hierarchy is flat: You can go directly to everyone,” she says. Another example is the lunch in the canteen, where the Head of Sections sit amongst the PhD students. This might not be the case in many countries, says Anna-Maria, elaborating: “The informal culture helps in everyday life when colleagues are sharing information”.

Some good advice for upcoming PhD students?
“Be open. The environment here is inspiring and because of our differences we can learn a lot from each other,” concludes Anna-Maria Tilg.