NEL deploys ZephIR 300 to steer industry guidance on power curve measurements, turbine micro-siting with CFD modelling, and to verify load measurements on key wind turbine components

The research is being carried out at the National Wind Energy Centre run by NEL from its Myres Hill test site.

June 2013


NEL, an independent test and research organisation working at the forefront of engineering development and innovation for more than 60 years, has deployed a ZephIR 300 within two of its major research projects. The studies, supported by the UK Government's National Measurement System (NMS), are investigating the use of ground based and turbine mounted continuous-wave (CW) Lidar (light detection and ranging) to measure the incoming wind conditions and wakes of wind turbines.

The research is being carried out at the National Wind Energy Centre run by NEL from its Myres Hill test site. The site, which is located in the heart of Europe's largest onshore wind farm, utilises two NEG Micon 950kW wind turbines (54m rotor diameter) for the purpose of undertaking wind metrology research.

Since project commencement, ground based measurements have been performed comparing the performance of ZephIR 300 to traditional met mast mounted cup and ultrasonic anemometers up to 30m. Regression plots have produced correlations that fall within the limits defined by Banks' Engineers GL Garrad Hassan and Natural Power when either company performs a performance verification of a ZephIR system at the UK Lidar and Sodar Test Site (UK-LSTS), Worcestershire. Following the ground based measurements the ZephIR 300 was then positioned adjacent to NEL's 80m met mast to measure the disturbed wind profile in the wake of the two 950kW NEG Micon machines, at 3.55D and 2.55D, dependent on wind direction. Further measurements of the wake will be performed at a range of rotor diameters downstream from the turbines; this data will be used to verify and validate CFD modelling of the site previously carried out by NEL. The aim is to then use the corrected and then validated CFD model to investigate turbine spacing for wind farm layout optimisation.

As part of the second stage of research, the ZephIR 300 was mounted on the nacelle of the NEG Micon North turbine and commissioned to forecast the wind conditions in advance of the rotor. This phase of the project is investigating techniques for using turbine-mounted Lidar to measure incoming wind conditions to perform power curve measurements, optimise turbine alignment and better understand the impacts of loads on critical components. Working in collaboration with NEL on the project is Beran Instruments Ltd who specialise in condition monitoring systems for rotating machinery.

Andrew Kay, leading the research at NEL commented: "This is an extremely interesting and exciting piece of research aimed at advancing the state-of-the-art in large wind metrology. Lidar provides a high degree of sophistication and flexibility over traditional methods and helps to provide more intelligent monitoring and control systems designed to enhance overall turbine efficiency and performance. Coupled with other techniques, such as CFD modelling Lidar can also be used to better inform micro-siting decisions for wind farms. I am very pleased with the progress of the measurement campaign so far, the ZephIR 300 is providing us with a reliable, real-time picture of the wind conditions on site."

Ian Locker, Managing Director at ZephIR Lidar commented: "NEL is one of the leading lights on research in to wind flow, and the ultimate application of research into the commercial world. Given ZephIR's heritage in innovation, the combination on this project is particularly strong. ZephIR 300 offers two significant advantages in this field – CW Lidar is already accepted as the most appropriate for turbine mounted applications due to its full rotor scanning, and in addition we are able to provide both ground based measurements and turbine mounted measurements from a single platform – we are pleased that NEL is already benefiting from this and we look forward to working closely with them in this important research and standards area."

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