A French start-up company from the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre in the Netherlands has developed a small instrument to measure wind speed and direction from the ground up to heights of 200 m – information that is vital when deciding where to build a wind turbine to produce electricity.
The French company Leosphere developed their Windcube system using “lidar” (light detection and ranging) remote-sensing technology to measure wind speed and direction, turbulence and wind shear with great precision. Using a laser beam to measure the distance to objects is similar to how sonar measures distances underwater using sound pulses.
Explain Leosphere’s Laurent Sauvage: “Windcube sends laser pulses to measure wind characteristics. The laser light is scattered on its path by particles in the air – such as dust, water and aerosols – and bounced back to an optical sensor. These signals capture the movement in atmosphere particles and by mathematical calculations we can determine the absolute wind speed and direction in the laser pulse’s line of sight.”