UMaine’s DeepCLiDAR Ready for the Market

DeepCLiDAR, a floating light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system developed by the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, has completed a new deployment performance test 12 miles off the Maine coast in 65 meters of water.

AWS Truepower validated DeepCLiDAR’s data recovery and measurement accuracy against Carbon Trust’s industry-standard performance criteria. With the third-party validation complete, DeepCLiDAR is now available for commercial lease or purchase, UMaine said.

The recent 5-month test concluded a three-phase validation program that sequentially vetted the DeepCLiDAR’s performance onshore, near-shore and offshore. The validation campaign was jointly developed by AWS Truepower and UMaine to characterize the floating LiDAR’s measurements in the absence of an offshore meteorological tower. The basis for the system’s evaluation and acceptance were the Key Performance Indicators and Acceptance Criteria defined by the Carbon Trust.

“DeepCLiDAR performed well during its validation, exceeding the Carbon Trust’s acceptance criteria for wind speed and direction measurements,” said AWS Truepower Principal Engineer Matthew Filippelli.

“In spite of the inherent challenges of validating floating LiDAR in the U.S. – notably the absence of an offshore meteorological tower – the DeepCLiDAR has demonstrated a pre-commercial level of technical maturity. AWST considers this system valid for use in an offshore wind resource and design condition assessment campaign in similar metocean conditions.”

DeepCLiDAR, which can be deployed in virtually any depth, has the capability to collect wind data at hub-height, gather metocean measurements, and provide ecological monitoring services. The system is fully self-powered through its solar panels and wind turbines and has operated autonomously for more than one year 12 miles off the Maine coast, UMaine said.

The system houses a modified WINDCUBE Offshore LiDAR Remote Sensor, which has been adapted to a dynamic marine environment to measure wind conditions using laser technology up to 200 meters above the ocean surface.

“The DeepCLiDAR buoy system and electronics are based on ocean observing buoy technology developed and tested by UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group over the past twenty years in the Gulf of Maine and abroad,” said Dr. Anthony Viselli, Manager of Offshore Model Testing and Structural Design at the UMaine Composites Center.

Both the U.S. Department of Energy and the Maine Technology Institute provided funding to support the R&D leading to the validation of the DeepCLiDAR buoy, including the third-party validation of the technology. MTI has also provided funding for commercialization planning to bring this new technology to the offshore wind industry.

DeepCLiDAR was first deployed and validated in 2013 alongside UMaine’s VolturnUS 1:8 floating offshore wind turbine during its 18-month deployment off the coast of Castine, Maine. VolturnUS 1:8 was the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the U.S. and the first in the world to use a concrete hull and composite material tower.

“This technology will advance the U.S. and international offshore wind industry by providing a cost-effective method to assess the wind resource in areas traditionally off-limits to offshore wind developers,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, executive director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

“The buoy is the first validated for use in the Northeastern U.S. and will support the first floating wind farm in the U.S.”

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