AI News, Instrumented drone measurements help wind farmers site turbines to achieve greater efficiency

Instrumented drone measurements help wind farmers site turbines to achieve greater efficiency

Without proper and strategic placement of wind turbines, the low-speed wind behind turbines, called a wake, decreases the efficiency of the wind farm.

Moreover, design novel instrumented drones with a suite of sensors capable of gathering precise field data in the complex flow and terrain of an actual wind farm.

Results show detailed flow behaviors around the wind turbines, useful for developing simulation tools that can be used to optimize placement of wind turbines within the wind farms.

'In wind farms, the power output of wind turbines can decrease by up to 40 percent if the wind turbines are in the wake of upstream wind turbines, so there are intensive efforts to develop simulation tools that can be used to optimize the placement of wind turbines within wind farms,' said lead researcher Ndaona Chokani, lead researcher of the study.

Developing tools that can guide decision-making on where to place wind turbines for maximum effect is a desirable goal because through improved efficiencies, clean energy prices will come down and environmental impacts will be reduced.

Businesses and investors renew plea to Trump: don't ignore climate change

At the edge of a plot of muddy farmland, a few miles down the road from the University of California at Davis, an engineer takes a few quick steps across crop rows and lets go of a three-foot drone.

Within seconds, the device – which weighs less than 2lbs and carries a powerful camera – ascends hundreds of feet into the cold, clear, blue sky and begins to snap detailed photos of the ground far below, including a long row of large solar panels mounted on steel poles.

The drone will enable SunPower to survey a wide region and help design a solar power farm that can fit more solar panels on a piece of land, more quickly and for lower costs than it previously could.

The test highlights a growing use of the latest computing technologies – drones, robots, software, sensors and networks – by US companies to design, build and operate solar farms.

After seeing the prices of solar panels drop dramatically over the past decade, companies are looking for new ways to cut costs and compete with fossil fuel power through project design.

“Solar companies and service providers are using many different types of technology to optimize both the deployment of solar and the operations and maintenance of solar,” says Justin Baca, the vice president of markets and research for the solar group Solar Energy Industries Association.

The company designed its algorithms to take into account hundreds of factors that a human engineer might overlook, such as where transmission lines will be or how much shade will be created by the panels as they follow the sun throughout the day.

So far, Chaudhuri says that customers have used the company’s software to design about 4 gigawatts of solar projects, which is about the amount of solar panel projects that are installed across the US in a single quarter.

“You can spot problems down to the cell level.” While drones are playing an increasing role in the solar industry, many companies aren’t convinced that they are cost effective, notes a report by The Electric Power Research Institute, which conducts research for the power industry.

First Solar’s manager of business development, Jeremy Rand, says drones and robots aren’t sophisticated enough or affordable: “A lot of these technologies are in the experimentation phase and not quite there yet.” The falling prices for solar panels also make it difficult to justify an investment in emerging and more expensive technology, Rand adds.

Self-Flying Drones and Wind Turbine Blades: The New Way of Collecting Data

The Global Wind Energy Council estimated that 314,000 individual wind turbines operated around the world at the end of 2015.

They’ll also work together on examining future inspection methods beyond just ‘visual inspection.’ By incorporating more advanced inspection technologies, they will improve the value of the drone inspection.

With this support, small companies can advance their technologies faster so that the market can utilize their products sooner “A business our size rarely has access to an organization like Sandia,” says Ellis, who has 12 employees.

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