EOLOS buoy validated

This LIDAR buoy has four individual floats attached to the corners of the skeleton structure that provide the buoyancy and help to ensure good stability in rough seas This LIDAR buoy has four individual floats attached to the corners of the skeleton structure that provide the buoyancy and help to ensure good stability in rough seas
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Floating LIDAR systems offer a much cheaper alternative to evaluating wind farm sites than establishing a fixed measuring station. German renewables developer RWE Innogy, in partnership with the operator of the Eneco Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, has successfully completed the trial of such a buoy by mooring it in close proximity to the Ijmuiden MET mast that has been established off the Dutch coast to provide a fixed reference wind measuring point.

The buoy is the result of a research project to develop a cost-effective alternative to fixed met. masts. Floating LIDAR systems are expected to only cost 10 to 20% of a conventional measuring mast, suggesting a potential to make a considerable contribution to cutting development costs of offshore wind farms.

This trial is part of the world's largest validation trials of floating LIDAR, that were recently commenced by the Offshore Wind Accelerator which is a research initiative from the UK Carbon Trust involving the major offshore wind farm operators. The first trial conducted in 2014 was supported by the research and development programme FLOW (Far and Large Offshore Wind), funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The EOLOS Buoy is a fully autonomous and all-in-one system which can accurately measure wind, wave and current. It is based on a structural skeleton and mooring system to provide the necessary robustness to withstand the rough environment of the North Sea whilst at the same time reducing the weight of the system," commented Rajai Aghabi, CEO at EOLOS Floating Lidar Solutions.

This LIDAR buoy has four individual floats attached to the corners of the skeleton structure that provide the buoyancy and help to ensure good stability in rough seas. Enclosing the skeleton framework is a tapered compartment that provides a watertight environment to house all the electronic measuring equipment as well as the power supply equipment. The outside of this compartment has solar panel attached to provide some of the power whilst wind generators are attached to three of the corners with the fourth corner being dedicated to a communications mast. The mooring system on the buoy ensures that it lies in the same relative direction to wind in most conditions to ensure that the wind generators maximise their output.

Batteries provide a 48 hour back up in the event of calm and overcast conditions with sensors monitoring the power management. Data is sent to the shore via the Iridium satellite system and can also be accessed by Wi-fi from a nearby boat. The LIDAR system is mounted at the centre of the casing.

The validation trials compared the data measured by the buoy to that measured from the tall Met Mast that is located some 45 miles off the Dutch coast in 26 metres of water and the results showed a close correlation between the two.

By Dag Pike

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