Carbon Trust Launches Floating LiDAR Trials

The Carbon Trust today announced details of the world’s largest and most challenging validation trials of floating LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.

Up to five different offshore wind measurement devices will be subjected to an extensive testing and validation against the state-of-the-art meteorological masts at three North Sea Round 3 sites. This campaign is the latest project from the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), the Carbon Trust’s flagship industry collaborative RD&D programme, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

OWA partners RWE, Mainstream Renewable Power (Mainstream) and ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) have made their North Sea offshore sites, IJmuiden, Neart na Gaoithe and East Anglia respectively, available to suppliers of floating offshore wind measurement devices for testing and validation of measurement data.

As part of the campaign, the floating LiDAR suppliers will receive access to the site location, data from the meteorological mast, in addition to an analysis of the floating LiDAR captured data in comparison to the met masts by an independent third party according to the OWA Roadmap for commercial acceptance of floating LiDAR technologies (OWA Floating LiDAR Roadmap).

Conventional practice is to install a fixed meteorological mast for approximately each GW of turbines installed. Floating LiDAR units can be purchased for as little as 1-2 Euros whereas a fixed meteorological mast can cost up to 13m Euros in a far shore and deep water environment.

Megan Smith, Project Manager, Wakes Research at the Carbon Trust commented: “This is a very exciting project for the OWA as the commercialisation of floating LiDAR could lead to capex savings of up to 90% when compared to the cost of installing a meteorological mast, as well as additional opex savings.”

The first of up to five device manufacturers taking part in this project have been announced, each featuring diverse design characteristics in terms of motion compensation, LiDAR unit, mooring system, power supply, and floater design. The floating LiDARs will be provided by manufacturers ranging from start-up companies to mid-sized corporations from different countries including:

  • EOLOS LiDAR Buoy of EOLOS, Spain – planned to deploy at IJmuiden
  • FLiDAR of FLiDAR, Belgium – deployed already at Neart na Gaoithe
  • WindSentinel of AXYS, Canada – planned to deploy at East Anglia
  • Up to two further devices to be trialled at IJmuiden and East Anglia

All five trials will have the data verified by independent data analysts, contracted in order to perform the data analysis and validation of the floating LiDARs’ measurement data against the measurements of the fixed met masts.

Image: carbontrust