A laser-based anemometer allows the wind turbine to “see” the wind before it touches the blades. With this information, the turbine can optimize both its position and the blades to use the wind more efficiently. It also increases the longevity of the turbine.
Things would have ended better for Vader if the Death Star was a wind turbine
“The LIDAR system can be used to increase blade reliability by making the blades cope better with the irregularities of the wind. Subsequently it is possible to produce larger blades. This increases energy production, and power from wind energy becomes more competitive, says Lars Fuglsang, Global Research Director of LM Glasfiber
Laser-based anemometers split the laser in to two beams. One beam propagates out of the anemometer to measure particulates flowing along with the air molecules. That beam is then reflected back into a detector where it’s measured in relation to a second beam, which is used to calculate the speed of the particles.
“So we estimate that future wind turbines can increase energy production while reducing extreme loads by using this laser system” says Torben Mikkelsen, professor at Risoe DTU.
These smart wind turbines can increase electricity production up to 5-percent. Since the system can adjust itself to gusts of wind and turbulence, the turbines benefit from using much longer blades. The increase roughly translates to increased revenue of about $39,000 per year for a 4MW wind turbine.
This advancement could cut CO2 emissions by 25,000 tons by 2025, if every 10th turbine was equipped with the technology.
UPDATE: This was sent to me via Facebook. How could I not share it?
Blowing up Alderaan was really a mistake, they were just testing renewable tech
Jerry is a web developer, part-time blogger and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped.
Jerry also blogs over at Treehugger. His passions include green tech, eco politics and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too.
Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper.
Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola.
You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.