Lidar for wind speed

Dec. 16, 2009
Light detection technology helps gauge wind speed and direction.

A French start-up company in the Netherlands has developed a small instrument to measure wind speed and direction from the ground up to heights of 200 m which may prove helpful deciding where to build a wind turbine.

The French company Leosphere developed its Windcube system using lidar (light detection and ranging) remote-sensing technology to measure wind speed and direction, turbulence and wind shear with great precision. "Windcube sends laser pulses to measure wind characteristics. The laser light is scattered on its path by particles in the air, such as dust, water and aerosols, and bounced back to an optical sensor. These signals capture the movement in atmosphere particles and by mathematical calculations we can determine the absolute wind speed and direction in the laser pulse’s line of sight,” explains Laurent Sauvage, Leosphere Scientific Director.

Leosphere was supported during its start-up phase by ESA’s Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The company also collaborated with the French ONERA aerospace laboratory during development.

The Windcube is said to be particularly helpful for accurate wind measurement in remote locations previously inaccessible. In operation, the system might by used to measure the wind profile at several programmable measurement heights. Considered to be an emerging technology just a few years ago, the wind and aerosol lidar technology is now widely used for routine observation instruments feeding meteorological databases and models.

The ESA site has more details:

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