UMaine and partners launch system to take ocean wind measurements

UMaine's Composites Center has launched a laser-based imaging and ranging system that will gather offshore wind condition data near the coast of Maine as the university pursues floating turbine designs.

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The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center (Orono, Maine, USA) on May 24 unveiled its latest technology, a buoy-based floating laser imaging detection and ranging (LIDAR) system. 

In October 2012, UMaine’s Composites Center, NRG Systems, Inc., AWS Truepower LLC, UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group (PhOG), and Leosphere SAS established a research and development partnership to gather deepwater hub-height wind and other metocean measurements in the Gulf of Maine. UMaine has designed a floating system to house a modified WINDCUBEv2 Offshore LIDAR Remote Sensor, which has been adapted to a dynamic marine environment.

The floating system, which incorporates a proven LIDAR system that detects wind conditions using laser technology up to 200 meters above the ocean surface, is based on buoy technology developed and tested by UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group over the past decade in the Gulf of Maine and abroad.

AWS Truepower will conduct a validation campaign to validate the data collected by the floating system. The buoy is scheduled for deployment alongside UMaine’s VolturnUS 1:8 floating offshore wind turbine, the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the U.S., on June 1, 2013 at Castine, Maine.

“This partnership between the UMaine and our private industry leaders will advance resource assessment technology and will help propel the U.S. forward in deepwater offshore wind technology development,” says Dr. Habib Dagher, P.E., director of UMaine’s Composites Center. “Floating LIDAR technology, once fully validated, will provide us with a cost-effective method to assess the wind resource in areas traditionally off-limits to offshore wind developers.”

With funding from the Maine Technology Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy, UMaine’s Composites Center is leading this effort to enable cost-effective measurements of hub-height winds in deepwater where fixed-based towers are not feasible. UMaine’s Composites Center is actively developing and testing innovative floating wind turbines for deployment in deep water.

In other UMaine news, the university has published "Floating Offshore Wind Foundations: Industry Consortia and Projects in the United State, Europe and Japan, an Overview." It summarizes and explores floating turbine foundation technologies currently in development throughout the world.