The Manassas, Virginia-based Catch the Wind has signed an agreement with National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to test the company’s Vindicator laser wind sensor that automatically optimizes wind turbine direction to boost its output.
Catch the Wind will provide a test unit to the U.S. Department of Energy facility for up to three years. The Vendicator laser wind sensing system is capable to measure wind speeds and direction with a goal of optimally aligning turbines and turbine blades. The idea is to reduce the stressing effects of wind shear and gusts, or maintain a constant blade speed.
The Vindicator works by using fiber optic lasers to sense the wind that is approaching the wind turbine at various ranges and report this information to the control system in sufficient time to adjust and orient the turbine, according to the company. The Vindicator system was tested rigorously both in extreme icing conditions and in a maritime environment in preparation for mounting on an operating wind turbine in varied weather conditions. and in a cold climate.