"The results show that this system can predict wind direction, gusts of wind and turbulence. So we estimate that future wind turbines can increase energy production while reducing extreme loads by using this laser system, which we call wind LIDAR," says Torben Mikkelsen, Professor at Risø DTU.

The new laser technology means that wind turbines are able to ‘see’ the wind, before it hits the blades. By 'predicting' the wind, the wind turbine can optimise its position and adjust the blades so that the wind is used more efficiently, and the wind turbine lives longer.

Increased electricity production from wind turbines

It is expected that the smart wind turbine technology can increase energy production by up to 5%, primarily because it is possible to use longer blades.

For a 4 MW wind turbine, this means a financial gain of DKK200,000 a year. At the same time, the technology can be combined with "smart blades" and thereby increase longevity.

"The LIDAR system can be used to increase blade reliability by making the blades cope better with the irregularities of the wind. Subsequently it is possible to produce larger blades. This increases energy production, and power from wind energy becomes more competitive, says Lars Fuglsang, Global Research Director of LM Glasfiber;

"The LIDAR systems allows a paradigm shift in the way of controlling wind turbines”, says Jakob Dahlgren Skov, CEO of NKT Photonics A/S.

The project is supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation with DKK 12.5 million.