Belgium: 3E, OWA Launch New FLiDAR Company
With support from Flemish Government, a newly launched joint venture, FLiDAR nv, starts product trials in North Sea with aim to deliver tools to drastically reduce costs of offshore wind developments. 3E and OWA (DEME Group) have announced the official launch of FLiDAR N.V.
Based in Oostende, FLiDAR is a joint venture established between 3E and OWA, to build, deploy and maintain an innovative floating wind measurement device needed by the offshore wind industry to enable cost reductions for offshore wind resource assessments.
Flemish Minister of Innovation Ingrid Lieten, announced about FLiDAR nv: “This new measurement system is an important breakthrough for the offshore wind industry, as it allows for a significant decrease in infrastructure costs for offshore wind production. (…) With this project, Flanders is playing a pioneering role in the wind energy field.”
Context – Why measure offshore wind with FLiDAR?
The profitability of offshore wind farms depends heavily on the ability to predict and deliver maximum power output at competitive costs. Reaching this optimum first requires an in-depth knowledge of the wind available on site. Furthermore, as the behaviour of the wind has an impact on nearly all the components of a wind farm, a wrong estimation of some parameters (especially turbulence, gusts, extreme wind speed and wind speed distribution) may impact the performance of the turbines, the component lifetime or even the structural integrity of the turbines. Both short term and long term characteristics of the wind and the corresponding predictability are important.
Until now, building fixed measurement masts at sea equipped with standard wind measurement devices (anemometers or LiDAR systems) was necessary to ensure successful measurements offshore. The construction of this type of infrastructure requires extensive permitting and can cost 3 – 8 Million Euro.
The FLiDAR is a floating LiDAR based system intended to significantly reduce these high costs and provide more flexibility for wind power developers and asset managers.
Current FLiDAR developments
In line with the objectives of VIA and SET Flanders, FLiDAR is an important tool to further the industry and has significant export potential, especially in neighbouring North Sea Countries. A FLiDAR buoy has been launched for a first commercial validation campaign in October, for the prominent German utility RWE. This flagship campaign is part of the UK government backed Carbon Trust Accelerator Programme and is a clear signal of the international interest and potential of the FLiDAR.
The campaign, will take place next to a fixed met mast on the site of the Gwynt y Mor wind farm in the Irish Sea. Geert Palmers, CEO of 3E said: “We are very proud to announce the launch of FLiDAR nv. The establishment of this new company has been achieved thanks to a strong partnership between 3E and OWA, and support from the Flemish Government. FLiDAR is a leap in cost reduction of offshore wind resource assessments. Considering the immediate commercial interest of the major world players, we are confident that the venture will be a great success.”
Peter Roose, General Manager OWA, added: “We are excited that our innovative ideas have resulted in a concrete product for which there is clearly a high demand in the market. The creation of FLiDAR NV will allow a dedicated team to focus on the further roll out and the development of future generations of this product.”
The first FLiDAR prototype was developed and successfully tested at the end of 2011 in the North Sea, 15 km off the coast of Belgium, as part of the OWI lab project, supported by IWT and the Flemish government. The test results, validated by the Danish wind energy research institute DTU, showed an excellent correlation between the data of the FLiDAR and similar data from a fixed measurement device placed on an offshore platform close to the test site.
Press release, November 7, 2012; Image: 3E