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UAVs may improve wind-turbine farms

US: According to a research conducted by Clarkson University’s Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed to gather offshore turbulence data could optimise the deployment of wind-turbine farms.

The US Department of Energy has provided funds to the tune of USD 700,000 for the Research Aerial Vehicle for Experimental Needs (RAVEN), which will first be deployed around Lake Erie.

The team will map offshore wind and turbulence fields and develop best practices for the integration and operation of different instrumentation — including LiDAR technologies, meteorological towers, UAV measurements and satellite-derived products.

The RAVEN UAV will acquire horizontal and vertical wind and turbulence profiles at a low altitude. The three-dimensional view of wind characteristics obtained from this project will provide a greater understanding of the variability of wind and turbulence in offshore and coastal areas at heights, scales and precision relevant to wind energy projects.

The data obtained from this study will be used to design wind turbines and wind farms, and to optimise energy capture and reduce the cost of electricity.

Source: The Engineer