Wind farm modeling and wind power data simulations. Vortex is an on-line atmospheric modeling service designed by wind industry professionals. We remotely run state-of-the-art technology, packaged in useful products, one click away from your desktop. Vortex started its technology development in 2007 by former wind site engineers, atmospheric physicists and computer experts in a unusual collaborative team of experienced professionals with active researchers. At Vortex we are not alone: our technology is based on WRF, a state-of-the-art non-linear flow code developed through a collaborative effort by several atmospheric research centers and an active community.
- Business Type:
- Software vendor
- Industry Type:
- Energy - Wind Energy
- Market Focus:
- Globally (various continents)
- Year Founded:
This company also provides solutions for other industrial applications.
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Vortex products have been designed after listening to wind professionals’ demands. We have developed our technology by focusing on our field of specialization: wind energy-oriented atmospheric modeling, and keep it updated through close collaboration with both industry and scientific experts.
Vortex started its technology development in 2007 by former wind engineers (with more than 20 years of experience), atmospheric physicists and computer experts in a unusual collaborative team of experienced professionals with researchers. Learn more about our principals here
Our products have been designed after intensive dialog with the wind industry and, due to Vortex open business model, we benefit from a continuos feedback of our clients.
Vortex is a private company, owned by its members and independent of manufacturers, developers, consultancy firms or any other business related with the wind industry.
We have developed our own technology and do not depend on third parties to modify it. Both hardware (a supercomputer cluster located in Barcelona) and software are fully maintained by our team.
At Vortex we are not alone: our technology is based on WRF, a state-of-the-art non-linear flow code developed through a collaborative effort by several atmospheric research centers and supported by an active community of more than 10,000 users
To guarantee the scientific quality of our work, we receive advice from researchers at the Physics Department of the Universitat de Girona.
Vortex vision is fully aligned with the recommendations expressed by Working Group 1 of the EWEA's European Wind Energy Platform regarding priorities in wind assessment development for the coming years:
Ideally, the results of the research should be applied worldwide, by means of an easy-to-use numerical wind atlas for resource and extreme winds. By 2030, the wind energy industry is expected to make use of fast, accurate, high-resolution and comprehensive wind atlas calculations in a wide range of climatic conditions and settings, including coastal, offshore and highly complex terrain.(...)
The comprehensive wind atlas calculation includes annual and seasonal/monthly climatological mean and extreme wind statistics, with estimates of variability and uncertainty. The resulting data should be in a form that can be used subsequently in other software, such as GIS.
The available wind statistics will include wind speed distributions and turbulence parameters, which are all necessary for wind turbine specifications and will lead to refined classification schemes.(...)
Wind conditions are less well validated in complex terrain, coastal/offshore locations and above the surface layer than in simple, flat terrain. A high degree of collaboration between the wind energy and meteorology communities is a prerequisite for the continual development of wind atlases and improve understanding of wind conditions in these locations.
- From professional to professional.
Vortex team does not come from the academic world but from the professional wind industry, like you. Vref?, turbulence subclass B?, inflow-angle?... we speak the same language as you and have faced the same challenges during the last 20 years. The combined experience of our specialists includes more than 10,000MW of wind farms designed and, what is more relevantly, about 1000MW of them, actually built and currently operating.
- No instalations, just clicks.
Vortex does not sell software. Our models require a computing power that is far beyond the capabilities of a common-sized wind business company. Instead, our technology runs on a massive computer cluster installed and maintained by Vortex. Via our free INTERFACE, Vortex models are set up by yoursefl and initalised by a couple of clicks at your laptop. In a matter of of hours, their results will be delivered to your office in the same way.
- Wind is complex, models should be too.
Vortex models are non-linear, just like real wind behaviour. And non-linear modelling is neither easy nor fast. That is why our results take few hours to be delivered after your request them. True, there are wind maps which are pre-calculated, fine-grid, instantaneously downloadable from the Internet but most of these data have been produced by “20th Century“ linear models. Today, the superiority of non-linear over linear flow modelling has been widely proven.
- Cutting-edge technology, always.
At Vortex we decided to run models on-line for one important reason: we think that the non-linear, refined calculation at the places you select are much more interesting than the uninteresting areas around. So, unlike other modelling companies, our high-resolution simulations cover only the area you choose. As a beneficial side effect, since they are computed on-line, this enables us to incorporate the latest improvements in atmospheric modelling (as the newest reanalysis version), run by run, as soon as their validity is proven. This is why the accuracy of our modelling has been growing since the launch of Vortex service. We keep learning while working.
- We would like to help you step by step.
Our product portfolio is designed to help you in a zooming sequence of decisions: starting by identifying promising windy regions on a global wind world map (9km-resolution), freely accessible via Vortex INTERFACE, to the very fine (100m-grid) maps of Vortex FARMS and MAST, through the 1 and 3km-resolution MAPS or SERIES. All these products are sold separately, as you need them step by step in the different stages of your business process.
- One thing is certain: wind is uncertain.
At all map scales, natural wind uncertainty is a fact. Even the most accurate anemometers seldom have less than a few % of uncertainty. So, as important as our modelling results, there will always ber unavoidable uncertainties. We estimate them: each time you order a product, Vortex runs an ensemble of different model configurations in order to quantify a site-specific value of the uncertainty of the calculation (fig. 1). This procedure follows the guidelines of the state-of-the-art modelling community which admits that models are limited tools.
- Your turbines' health is also our concern.
With first-hand experienced in the wind industry, we are not only focused on wind resource. Fatigue loads or failure of your turbines are also our concerns. That is why Vortex offers estimations of extreme winds (fig. 2) and turbulence intensity (fig. 3). Launch a Vortex remote simulation and you will get everything (including vertical shear and inflow angle) needed to determine the class of your site acording to IEC Standards.
- Don't just take our word for it, check for yourself!
Vortex will never ask for your wind measurements to be used as input for our modelling process. The reason is simple: comparing our results against your data is your only measure of the reliability of our simulations. If, like other companies do, we used your data to calibrate our models, the results would perfectly fit at the location of your mast but, how could you be sure they will not fail just a few tenths of meters away? That is why your data should be at the end of the process. At that end, our commitment is secure: Vortex MAST is the only product on the market that allows for comparison of simulation results against your wind measurements in order to get a quantitative estimation of the accuracy of your specific modelling process. Since such comparisons are performed on your computer, the privacy of your measurements is absolutely guaranteed: they will never leave your desktop.
- One year (even two) is not enough.
As a professional, you may have a couple of years of measured wind data for any given project. This is OK at a preliminary stage, but, for the serious decisions, it is not enough: the wind speed may differ from one particular year to another by more than 1m/s. Would you be prepared to risk your investment based on such a short analysis? Vortex FARM will deliver for you reliable long-term wind estimations based on 30 years of data. And thanks to long time datasets we can also estimate extreme events, one of the most uncertain and difficult wind characteristics (if estimated by current conventional methods).
- The best correlation, guaranteed.
Vortex SERIES come with correlation warranty: a 6 months sample is available free-of-charge for you to decide if purchase our 3km (the finest in the market), site centered, long-term time series after comparing against your measurements.
Vortex's business model is innovative: remote computing. You don't need to buy expensive hardware, be a modeling expert or go through a slow consultancy process. Run our technology remotely and get your results in a matter of hours.
Top-down modeling approach
In short, our technology reverses the traditional wind modeling process (where wind measurements at one point are extended to cover a larger area) by down-scaling wind patterns over large-areas to your particular points of interest (irrespective whether or not you have measurements there) using the power of a supercomputer cluster.
Vortex's modeling chain starts and ends at our INTERFACE which runs on a web-browser and is not used to perform calculations. That is why it requires such little computing power and will work on any standard computer connected to the Internet.
The power behind Vortex technology is our server cluster which runs seven days a week, 365 days a year to do the hard work for you.
Past & Present
Vortex downscaling procedures start with two large-scale datasets: Present and Past, extracted from NCEP and NASA reanalysis databases, two ambitious data assimilation projects that proces meteorological measurements worldwide.
The main purpose of the Present (2007-2012) dataset is to allow your data to be compared against our results in order to get a quantitative estimation of accuracy of modeling in your particular case.
The Past dataset contains atmospheric statistics for the last 30 years and is used as an estimation of the long-term wind climate. Both datasets have been compiled using the same proprietary algorithms in order to guarantee a coherence between both short-term (checkable) and long-term results.
Macro, Meso & Micro scales
Vortex datasets cover the world at low resolution (9km grid) and their mean values are freely displayable. When you select a specific area and launch a Run (via Vortex INTERFACE), these datasets are down-scaled by WRF to wind farm resolutions by a nested Macro-Meso-Microscale modeling cascade performed by our supercomputer cluster.
An important characteristic of our down-scaling method is that it makes use of non-linear modeling during all steps of the process. This is the reason why Vortex does not offer (like other companies do) pre-computed maps downloadable from a website.
Another reason for Vortex’s computational time is that, each time you execute an order, WRF is run using several configurations of its input parameters (the so-called ensemble), which enables model uncertainty to be estimated. This uncertainty rate is then provided to customers as a measure of the stability of the simulation for each particular application.
Vortex’s modeling chain nests several domains down to the Microscale, using increasingly finer information. The final results are provided for a 3' arc (roughly 100m) since this is the resolution of the worldwide available SRTM orography database. The values of terrain roughness are extracted from ESA satellite land use cover.