Wind Lidar technology optimising wind turbine power generation

Published on: 23rd May 2019

Following a series of development initiatives with DCA, ZX Lidars has successfully launched their innovative new ZX TM Lidar wind measurement instrument. 

The ZX TM consists of two main elements: the Lidar Optical Head, mounted externally to the turbine body or nacelle, and the Lidar Control Unit, which is fitted internally inside the nacelle. It measures wind speed, direction and other wind characteristics from close range and out to over 400m ahead of the blades, across the entire turbine rotor diameter.  Collecting data to benchmark the performance of the turbine by comparing its power output to the measured environmental wind speed.  The instrument is capable of measuring complex wake flows caused by other wind turbines in its proximity.  This data allows wind farm operators and turbine manufacturers to tune and control the turbines across the entire farm in order to optimise their combined power generation performance.

The DCA team supported ZX Lidars by providing design input into a number of different elements of the instrument, including product layout propositions for installing and aligning the Lidar Optical Head on the turbine nacelle; developing the visual design of elements of the instrument to express ZX Lidars’ brand language; and providing electronic hardware design recommendations. We also assisted with the Lidar Control Unit’s active temperature control system using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate internal airflow, heat transfers and temperature gradients, and the subsequent testing of the first units to validate practical performance against this theoretical virtual model. This system carefully controls the internal temperature of the sealed IP65 Lidar Control Unit, enabling it to be operated in the wide range of intended installations seeing both arctic and desert conditions. 

These new instruments are now being adopted across multiple wind farms where they will be fundamental to optimising wind power generation.