Vortex is an innovative atmospheric modelling service that caters specifically to Wind & Site technical departments. It addresses the challenge of estimating wind patterns in locations and time periods where no measurements are available. The development of Vortex began in 2005 under the guidance of experienced wind professionals, who collaborated extensively with the wind industry to design its products. The company follows an open business model, actively seeking feedback from clients to enhance its services.

What sets Vortex apart from traditional approaches to wind modelling is its unique methodology. Rather than relying on the conventional method of extrapolating wind measurements from a single point to cover a larger area, Vortex utilises a powerful supercomputer cluster. This enables them to downscale wind patterns across vast regions to specific points of interest, even in the absence of on-site measurements. By employing this advanced technology, Vortex provides global wind estimations that offer valuable insights to Wind & Site technical departments.

Interview with Patrícia Puig Alcoriza, Technical Marketing Manager at Vortex.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Patrícia Puig Alcoriza: Vortex provides meso and microscale modelled products driven by global reanalysis databases. These products are utilised to obtain reliable long-term reference data and conduct resource screening assessments. By employing meso and microscale downscaled products, it becomes possible to achieve a realistic localisation of wind regimes and account for topography-controlled variables. This leads to more accurate assessments of the impact of wind conditions at specific sites.

Vortex sets itself apart within the modelling market through its exclusive on-demand approach. This approach requires a robust, reliable, and precise system that has been entirely designed, implemented, and maintained by Vortex personnel. The system is capable of automatically chaining macro-meso-micro modules, which allows for the generation of web-based management system servers. Additionally, it enables remote control of the system at any given time. This on-demand capability enhances the flexibility and efficiency of Vortex’s services, ensuring timely and tailored wind modelling results.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

P.P.A: The recent introduction of Vortex BLOCKS adds a new product to our portfolio. Vortex BLOCKS is specifically designed to provide modelled wind data in the form of a WRG (Wind Resource Grid) file and gridded time series.

With Vortex BLOCKS, the downscaling of climate wind conditions can be achieved at a high level of detail, with horizontal resolutions of up to 100 meters. This downscaling process involves a nesting down procedure, where atmospheric flows are refined using enhanced physics options tailored to each scale. By incorporating complete surface effects and turbulence on the flow regime characterisation, Vortex BLOCKS ensures a more accurate representation of wind conditions at specific locations.

Vortex has also launched recently a new service that provides information about the expected future wind speed anomalies averaged over the next one to 12 months. This new methodology has been built to improve climatology for wind speed anomalies forecasts for up to the next 12 months. Vortex SEASONAL analyses Seasonal climate models from Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) on a site-specific basis to evaluate the best performance for each exact location. Seasonal single and post-processed models, multi-models, statistical projections, persistence, and climatology are all studied to provide the best anomaly forecast.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

P.P.A: Vortex offers comprehensive support throughout the entire wind farm development process, from prospecting to operation. Determining the ideal region to focus your wind farm development efforts requires careful consideration of various factors. 

When determining the region to focus your efforts on during wind farm development, several factors come into play. Here’s how the different stages of the process can assist in decision-making:

Mapping and Decision Sequence: At the start of development, utilising mapping tools can provide valuable insights. Vortex MAPS helps guide you through a zooming sequence of decisions, enabling you to narrow down potential regions of interest.

Met Mast Placement: Before investing in actual wind measurements, Vortex LES (Large-Eddy Simulation) or Vortex MAST (Meteorological Mast) simulations can help orient you at a fraction of the cost of a physical mast. These simulations provide preliminary information on suitable locations for installing a met mast to gather on-site wind data.

Turbine Placement and Classification: Determining where and which turbine class to choose is crucial for optimal wind farm design. Vortex FARM and BLOCKS, assists in this stage by combining measured data with advanced modelling techniques. It aids in the design process and assists in selecting the appropriate turbine class for specific locations.

Profitability Assessment: Once wind measurements are available, Vortex SERIES comes into play. By providing reliable estimates of wind resource and production potential, SERIES helps assess the profitability of your wind farm project.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

P.P.A: The wind energy market has reached a stage of maturity globally, with established wind farms and operational turbines in many regions. It has emerged as a significant player in the renewable energy sector, driven by investments, technological advancements, and supportive government policies. While wind energy has made notable progress, there are still untapped regions with potential for development. Ongoing research and development efforts focus on improving turbine technology, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs. Offshore wind energy is experiencing rapid growth, particularly in regions with suitable marine conditions. The market is dynamic and subject to changes influenced by policy decisions, technology advancements, grid integration challenges, and evolving market dynamics.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

P.P.A: The wind energy market is experiencing global growth, with a focus on increasing capacity in both onshore and offshore installations. Offshore wind energy is particularly gaining momentum, supported by advancements in technology and favorable policies. Turbines are being designed larger and more powerful to improve energy production efficiency and reduce costs. The industry has achieved significant cost reductions, making wind energy more competitive with conventional sources. Emerging regions are actively investing in wind energy, presenting new opportunities for market expansion. Hybrid energy systems, combining wind power with other renewable sources and storage, are gaining popularity for enhanced reliability and grid stability. Grid integration solutions and data analytics are being employed to optimise wind power management and improve overall system performance.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

P.P.A: In the field of wind resource data, innovative products have been marketed to enhance wind resource assessment and analysis. These include high-resolution wind resource mapping, which utilises advanced modelling techniques and improved data sources to provide detailed information on wind patterns. Remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR and SODAR offer non-intrusive measurements of wind profiles in real-time, enabling better understanding of wind characteristics. Machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques are being applied to wind resource data to analyse large datasets and make predictions for improved assessments. Additionally, climate reanalysis databases provide historical weather data on a global scale, aiding in the evaluation of long-term wind resource characteristics. Web-based wind resource platforms, such as Vortex, offer user-friendly interfaces and access to comprehensive wind resource datasets, facilitating customisable analysis and visualisation for specific project needs. These innovations contribute to more accurate wind resource assessments and better decision-making in the wind energy industry.