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SpiDAR: A Newly-Developed Wind Prediction System To Improve Wind Turbine Output by 15%


As they say, details make all the difference when it comes to big things. Following this principle, the huge wind turbines that you see on fields all around the world, need small adjustments and a little intelligence to act efficiently. Called SpiDAR, a newly-developed system can predict where wind is coming from and is going to be a step ahead and over currently-existing monitoring systems.

“All the data from the different ‘legs’ of the ‘spider’ are transmitted to the central headquarters,” says Gil Shamai, Pentalum’s vice president for business development of Pentalum Technologies, the Israeli company that developed the SpiDAR. “It’s light and very easy to deploy by a single person on the ground. You can place several in your terrain and receive measurements up to 200 meters [about 656 feet] off the ground.”

The SpiDAR uses a proprietary technology that gathers data from distributed wind sensors. A central computer takes the necessary decisions, but the overall results can also be adjusted manually, from a coordinating center.

Only a fraction of a second is needed for SpiDAR to see where the wind is headed, so turbines can adjust their direction and speed more accurately and even prevent disasters in the case of an overload. Shamai said that the SpiDAR is able to improve the wind turbines’ performance by 15 percent compared to other wind-measuring systems. The information that SpiDAR harvests are taken from sensors put behind the blades, and not behind them, like it is the case in other systems.

The system is to be launched in the U.S. during 2011, with the company promising a price that’s lower than the competition’s. “Our target market is in the US and Europe, since the market in Israel, while growing, is not very large.”

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