Lidar has come a long way

Wind Power: Wind Turbine Laser System Detects Gusts Before They Arrive

A startup company named ‘Catch the Wind’ has developed a product that could increase the efficiency of wind turbines by up to ten percent. Currently, wind turbines lose one percent of their operating efficiency for every degree that the blades are out of alignment with the oncoming wind. The ‘Vindicator’ fiber-optic laser system can sense air particle movement about 1000 feet out from the turbine itself then relay that information to the turbine control system. There, blade angle adjustments are made to take advantage of the prevailing winds.

The system utilizes a modified version of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to take measurements and it can be mounted directly on the turbine itself. Three lasers fired from the device measure vertical and horizontal wind speeds at different distances, as well as sudden changes in direction.

If this works, it will be very sweet. I wonder if you can just feather the blades without changing the pointing of the nacelle (which, as you might remember, tends to weigh up in the tons).

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