Technical Digest: Wind measuring - More accurate pitch control

Catch the Wind, an American company, is hoping to commercialise a LIDAR-based wind measurement system that from the top of a wind turbine could create a three-dimensional image of approaching wind speed and direction.

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The $125,000 device could inform a turbine ahead of time of approaching wind and better inform the pitch control systems controlling the angle of individual blades to the wind. "They're using pitch control now, they're just using it on data that's late or, at the very best, on strain that's already on the blade," says the company's Fred Belen. The LIDAR system projects three laser beams hundreds of metres ahead of a turbine and uses Doppler principle measurements of passing dust particles between the beams to build an image of the wind. The company has released data from a study done with the quasi-government Wind Energy Institute of Canada, saying it has done very well on accuracy.

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