Gunner Larsen

Senior Researcher Gunner Christian Larsen is celebrating his 40 years anniversary

Monday 31 Aug 20
On 1 September, it is 40 years since senior researcher Gunner Christian Larsen was employed at The Research Facility Risø. Today, from his position as a project manager of large EU projects, he looks back on an exciting number of years with many diverse areas of work in wind energy research.

Gunner Larsen started his working life in 1980 as a newly graduated civil engineer. He became a researcher at the Research Facility Risø in the Section for Structural Mechanics. In 1985, his career took a turn towards wind energy research when he switched to the Wind Energy Department. Here he developed aeroelastic codes, used for analyzing wind loads on wind turbines. He then came to the Wind Energy Department's programme area Aeroelastic Design, where he dealt with extreme loads of wind turbines, among other things.
Later, his professional focus changed to wind farms, and in this area he has worked to quantify the impact of wind turbine wakes of the load and performance of the other wind turbines within a wind farm.

Gunner Larsen's interest in wind farms peaked in 2007 with the EU project TOPFARM, of which he was a project manager for three years. Here he and colleagues continued researching into the meandering of wakes in wind farms with the aim of determining the optimal location of each wind turbine in the wind farm. This resulted in the development of a new dynamic model to describe the flow in wind farms in order to achieve the economically optimal wind farm.

Today, Gunner Larsen is a project manager for another EU project, TotalControl, of which the goal is to improve the control strategies for the wind farms of the future, in order to optimize the power production from these while reducing the load on the individual wind turbines. Gunner elaborates: "Popularly speaking, it is about getting each wind turbine to sacrifice itself for the 'community', i.e. the wind farm, to optimize the performance of the wind farm.” In addition, he is a project manager of a Danish project, LICOREIM, as well as a project supported by the Norwegian Research Council, Nextfarm, so he has several irons in the fire. Gunner does not boast about his achievements but his commitment is not to be mistaken, as he tells that his and his colleagues' dynamic wake model’ has been included as a recommended method in an IEC norm. This means that it is now one element in a set of regulations which international wind turbines are required to meet.

Regarding the importance of his work in wind energy research, his superior, Head of Section, Katherine Dykes says: “Gunner Larsen’s contributions to the advancement of wind energy science and engineering is recognized globally. Gunner always seems to find the sweet spot between advancing scientific understanding of wind energy and continuously developing practical engineering solutions based on that knowledge. For example, he was early to identify the meandering of wakes as a key aspect of overall wake behavior and losses in a wind farm, but he was also quick to create pragmatic engineering solutions (the dynamic wake meandering model) to allow the wind industry to address the phenomena in successive generations of wind turbine and farm design and operation.”
That Gunner's knowledge and results are used outside the university is well in line with what he himself is most passionate about. When asked what has been the most exciting - and still is, he answers without hesitation: "Mathematical modeling for the benefit of the wind turbine industry."

Gunner Larsen is the author or co-author of more than 300 articles, conference papers and technical reports. He lives with his family in Himmelev, and in his spare time he is active in Roskilde Rowing Club.