Energy Efficiency

Published on August 13th, 2009 | by Jeff Kart

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Lasers to Help Whip Wind Energy into Shape

August 13th, 2009 by  

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How do you make a better wind turbine? With lasers, of course.

The Manassas, Virginia-based Catch the Wind(TSX-V: CTW.S) has signed an agreement to work with the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colorado, to test the company’s Vindicator laser wind sensor.

Catch the Wind will provide a test unit to the U.S. Department of Energy facility for up to three years. The lab will use the Vindicator to measure wind speeds and direction with a goal of optimally aligning turbines and turbine blades. The idea is to cut stress loads on turbines and up their energy output.

The Vindicator works by using fiber optic lasers to sense the wind that’s approaching a turbine at various ranges. The info is then reported to the wind turbine’s control system, which adjusts the turbine accordingly, the company says.

Phil Rogers, president and CEO of Catch the Wind, said in a statement that the agreement will allow his company to demonstrate its laser system on a national stage. The testing should demonstrate that turbines can be made to run with less maintenance while putting out more power, Rogers says.

Austin Powers, eat your heart out.

Image via Catch the Wind Inc.


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About the Author

is typing about issues in the Great Lakes, from advanced biofuels to zero-emission vehicles. Jeff is an environmental journalist and social media evangelist based in Michigan, where the summers are short, the winters are cold, and the stories are plentiful.



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