Portable LiDAR unit boosts windfarm evaluation

QinetiQ's ZephIR

May 31, 2007 Wind farm planning and development will benefit from a deal just signed to market a portable LiDAR unit capable of accurately measuring wind speeds at heights of up to 150m. Designed and built by defense specialists QinetiQ, the unit will be brought to the market by Scottish consultancy Natural Power. It will be a key tool in the evaluation of prospective wind farm sites.

Natural Power, a renewable energy consultancy based in south west Scotland has purchased an exclusive license to market QinetiQ's ZephIR wind speed measurement system to the wind energy industry.

The arrangements cover the rights to exploit QinetiQ's LiDAR technology, on which ZephIR is based, primarily in the wind energy market. QinetiQ retains exploitation rights in other markets particularly defense, security and aerospace.

ZephIR is based on LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging) and works by measuring the Doppler shift of laser radiation back scattered from moving objects in the air. The majority of systems currently deployed are used for wind resource assessment, generating accurate measurements which play a vital role in the investment decision required before a new wind farm site can be developed.

Mark Palethorpe, Finance Director for QinetiQ's commercial business said: "QinetiQ has a strong pipeline of environmental technologies, many emanating from our core defence business. LiDAR technology has been used for many years in the aerospace industry, but until recently it has been too expensive and cumbersome for use in the renewable energy sector."

Stuart Hall, a Director of Natural Power said: "ZephIR has already established a foothold in a wide range of wind energy markets across the world and is an excellent addition to our portfolio of renewable energy technologies."

"Appropriate wind resource assessment is an absolute must in realising an efficient and profitable wind power project. The project risk is often determined by the quality of initial wind measurements and ZephIR provides the opportunity to reduce that risk."

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