So far, VisibleWind has successfully mapped wind patterns in Utah’s Danish Flats near an oil processing facility and has been used to determine the optimal placement of a potential wind turbine in Logan Canyon near USU. Useful strong winds have also been identified in Monticello and Clarkston, Utah, and Boulder, Colo.
“Wind farms typically produce about 10 percent less electricity than projected,” said Robert Barson, executive director of CASI. “A 100-turbine farm is working with essentially 90 fully functioning turbines. This creates a significant loss of investment due to the high cost of construction.”
A typical 100-turbine wind farm costs approximately $400 million to build. Using the VisibleWind suite of wind mapping tools, Barson and the CASI team believe they can increase performance output of wind farms.
The VisibleWind technology suite includes ValidWind, VolumeWind and VigilWind.
RAMM Power, Inc., a Utah startup company, has recruited CASI’s ValidWind technology to determine the viability of a wind farm along the Utah-Wyoming border.
The purpose of ValidWind, according to Barson, is to “validate” wind patterns, a necessary step in wind prospecting. ValidWind is low cost and precise, and tracking can be performed at day or night.
“ValidWind is a fully developed and calibrated wind profiling device,” said Tom Wilkerson, inventor of the technology along with Alan Marchant and William Bradford of CASI.
VolumeWind has reached the semifinalist state in the Rocky Mountain bracket of the national CleanTech Open contest. VolumeWind technology allows rapid scanning of large atmospheric volumes, full 3D wind characterization based on data and highly detailed mapping of local wind fields.
VigilWind is a device consisting of a kite and balloon. The balloon gives VigilWind lift when the wind isn’t blowing and the kite keeps the device in the wind when it is blowing.
The VisibleWind suite has application in and outside wind energy markets. The system can create 3D models over complex terrain, assess wind variability, locate placement for optimal turbine performance, improve turbine design and give advance warnings of dangerous winds.
Additionally, VisibleWind can be used for air pollution assessments, architectural surveys and civil engineering projects as well as homeland security threat detection by measuring aerosols in the air and predicting their pattern of movement.
“The VisibleWind technology suite developed at Utah State University is an excellent example of developments made possible by the USTAR initiative,” said Ned M. Weinshenker, vice president for strategic ventures and economic development at USU. “We are very pleased with the success of the Center for Active Sensing and Imaging and look forward to the success of VisibleWind and the impacts it can make on the wind energy sector.”
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Contact: Robert Barson, 435-797-7051, executive director of the Center for Active Sensing and Imaging, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Jacoba Mendelkow Poppleton, 435-797-9608, email@example.com