Denmark's National Laboratory Risø, now part of the Technical University of Denmark, has developed a prototype wind measurement system which makes it much cheaper and takes less effort to assess potential sites for wind turbines than conventional test masts. A big advantage of Risø's system over building test masts is that the system is mobile, and easily transportable from one site to another.
The 3 year project, which is supported by DKK 18.5 m (USD 3.6 m) in grants from Risø and the Danish Research and Innovation Agency, began in July this year. The prototype system is based on LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, and uses three laser beams to create a 3-D map of wind speed, turbulence and wind direction at a site of interest.
The intrinsic mobility of Risø's LIDAR system has caught the attention of leading Danish energy company Dong Energy, especially in relation to its potential application for mapping offshore sites.
"It is both very difficult and very expensive to erect a mast at sea to map wind conditions. Contrastingly, LIDARs can be set up on existing offshore platforms, which makes it a lot cheaper and easier than existing methods," says Dong Energy project coordinator Nina Le to professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer), which reports the news.
Nina Le also comments that LIDAR systems can map wind conditions higher up in the atmosphere than is possible with masts, which also makes the technology interesting for use on land.