Renewable Energy World has an article on some new technology for optimising wind turbine output by monitoring what is happening upwind in terms of wind gust direction - Eye on the Wind: Innovations Designed to "See" and Track Gusts.
High-technology company Catch the Wind is commercialising a nacelle-mounted, forward-looking system capable of sensing both wind speed and direction, as well as rapid wind variations. In December 2009, the company released striking trial test results for the innovative lightweight technology, claimed as unique and named the Vindicator Laser Wind Sensor (LWS).
Virginia-based Catch the Wind is a spin-off of US-based Optical Air Data Systems (OADS). The latter, founded in 1990 near Washington DC, is a leader in fibre-opticpulsed Lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) systems, an optical remote sensing technology.
Building upon 19 years of aerospace research know-how and experience, Catch the Wind, which was founded in September 2008, acquired a technology license from OADS for all its commercial (non-aviation) applications. The Vindicator LWS uses advanced laser technology combined with Doppler radar techniques to analyze air particle movement and determine wind speed and direction. The use of Vindicator LWS is primarily intended for improving the performance of wind turbines, resulting in higher energy production and reduced lifetime maintenance costs. ...
A key finding of the Nebraska trial was that employing a Vindicator on a given wind turbine increases energy yield by 12.3% on average, says Rogers. That positive result in turn can be attributed to both optimized rotor alignment with the oncoming wind, and increased gust detection. He stresses that the increased output was achieved while the Vindicator controlled the turbine for only 56% of the time as specified by the 30-day trial parameters.
‘Excluding statistically insufficient measurement data, the Vindicator improved energy output by more than 18%. The system is also insensitive to specific environmental conditions’, adds Rogers, expanding on the positive trial results.