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Canadian tornado center deploys lidar WindScanner

18 Dec 2014

Laser examination of weather simulator in full-scale real atmospheric wind and turbulence hall.

Canada'sWindEEE Research Institute, based in London, Ontario, has installed a short-range 3D WindScanner, based on ZephIR's Continuous Wave Lidar technology, and supplied by the Wind Energy Department of the Technical University of Denmark to study turbulence effects for wind turbines, buildings and structures.

Professor Horia Hangan, Director of the WindEEE Research Institute, commented, “Our vision is to be a global leader in wind research and innovation, making a global contribution to the resilience of structures.

"WindEEE, our tornado generating wind dome is now home to the WindScanner scanner, the world’s leading measurement system, which is based on ZephIR Lidar Technology. We are looking forward to communicating further results from our work as we progress with leading research and educational programs at Western University.”

The WindEEE Dome is the world’s first hexagonal wind tunnel. Its large scale structure (25m diameter for the inner dome and 40m diameter for the outer return dome) allows for wind simulations over extended areas and complex terrain. Uniquely, WindEEE allows for the manipulation of inflow and boundary conditions to reproduce, at large scales and under controlled conditions, the dynamics of real wind systems.

Tornado testing

By manipulating the outflow and direction of these fans the facility is capable of producing time-dependent, straight, sheared or swirl winds of variable directionality. Therefore a large variety of wind fields such as boundary layers, portions of hurricanes, tornados, downbursts, low level currents or gust fronts can be physically simulated.

WindScanner’s remote sensing wind measurement approach with integrated syncronized three-axis beam steering and scanning systems, provides detailed full-scale real atmospheric wind and turbulence measurements. The first of three time and space beam syncronized systems required to measure the variety of the 3D wind conditions generated by WindEEE in the most accurate way possible, with a ZephIR Continuous Wave Lidar at its core, has now been installed.

This combination of state-of-the-art technologies will help the industry understand more about the vulnerability to turbulence of wind turbines, wind farms, and other buildings and structures. With increasing rotor diameters of wind turbines the turbulent effects produced are more significant in operation, maintenance and performance of wind farms.

ZephIR, WindScanner and WindEEE are facing this challenge head-on and the project has been described as ‘the necessary quantum leap forward in wind research’.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

ABTechLaCroix Precision OpticsCeNing Optics Co LtdSPECTROGON ABCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.TRIOPTICS GmbHFirst Light Imaging
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