better wind data to improve site analysis

The Fulcrum3D Sodar is an advanced technology set to revolutionise wind energy measurement. Its a world leading remote sensing device:

  • highly accurate measurements, consistent with met masts
  • wind data over the entire turbine area
  • full data traceability
  • lower cost, more flexible deployment
  • reduced maintenance and insurance requirements

highly accurate wind data

The compact-beam Fulcrum3D Sodar has a number of technical advantages over met masts:

  • greater vertical reach – measures wind speeds in excess of 150m above ground to cover 100% of the wind turbine swept area. Typical wind monitoring masts (e.g. 2/3 hub height) measure less than 20% of the wind turbine swept area, introducing significant modeling uncertainties for the remaining area.
  • 3D measurement –measures wind speeds in 3D providing important inflow angle information which typical anemometers can’t. Understanding the vertical flow at the mast locations can improve accuracy of site modeling, particularly in steep terrain where wind flows are usually not horizontal.
  • whole air volume measurement – rather than measuring data at a specific point, the Fulcrum3D Sodar measures the wind speed over effectively a 10m high band, leading to more accurate understanding of the wind mass passing through a wind turbine’s rotor.
  • no mast interference – measurements are not affected by mast interference, or mast shadow effects, which affect the accuracy of wind flow measurements.
  • no cup errors – measurements are not affected by inflow angles which introduce errors in cup anemometers. The accuracy of anemometer cups is affected by a variety of issues including vertical components in the wind vector (inflow angles), effects of precipitation on the cups (rain, snow, mist), and cup overspeed errors (where due to their fundamental construction, cup anemometers respond more quickly to accelerating winds than decelerating winds).

These advantages result in better understanding of the wind flow, vertical wind profile and wind resource distribution, reducing risk. This is particularly the case in complex terrain where traditional wind monitoring is inadequate.

When compared with alternate remote sensing systems, the Fulcrum3D Sodar excels:

  • narrow beam angles means superior performance in complex terrain and lower impact of ‘flow curvature’ as the wind flow bends around terrain features
  • physically fixed beam angles means consistent measurements from site to site which are not affected by site atmospheric conditions such as temperature
  • full spectrum data recovery means that data consistency is assured even after software enhancements
    • old data can be reprocessed with improved algorithms to ensure 100% consistency
    • improvements are immediately obvious by comparing old and new datasets
  • multi-beam processing capability means more data recovery and lower uncertainty

full data traceability

The Fulcrum3D Sodar incorporates a fully traceable data architecture.  All raw sound spectrum data is sent by each sodar to the Fulcrum3D servers for off-site processing, and all raw spectrum data is saved in a secure backup storage. This approach provides a number of benefits:

  • full data traceability is available from raw sound spectrum data to clean filtered wind data, allowing bankers engineers certainty over the data processing stream
  • reprocessing of all raw data can be carried out at any point in time using updated processing scripts, ensuring data consistency as processing scripts change
  • 3rd party consultants or other industry experts can apply their own processing scripts if they prefer for comparison

Most sodars discard the raw spectrum data once the wind data has been calculated, preventing full data traceability. Further, any changes in the processing scripts mean wind data calculations are not consistent.

The Fulcrum3D Sodar data is collated into industry standard formats which can be directly imported into the majority of standard wind analysis packages. This data can then be sent to end users in a variety of formats as required, including via the Flightdeck.

lower cost, more flexible deployment

The Fulcrum3D Sodar has a significantly lower construction, operation and removal costs than fixed monitoring masts.

A typical 80m monitoring mast may cost $100,000 to install, $10,000 per annum to operate (sensor replacements, repairs of lightning damage etc) and $20,000 to remove. For a 12 month operating program this equates to a commitment of $130,000 before even knowing if the site is windy.

A Fulcrum3D Sodar unit can be deployed and relocated to several sites with minimal relocation costs, reducing the risks inherent in early stage site analysis, and providing low cost in-fill or areas around existing monitoring masts.  With a Fulcrum3D Sodar, there is no requirement for planning approvals, construction lead times, or contingency planning for adverse weather.

By the time a monitoring mast can be installed you could already have 3 months of Fulcrum3D Sodar data available on the site. This not only extends the dataset, but can potentially save an expensive mistake in installing a mast in the wrong location or on the wrong site.

Typical installation time is one hour, and only minutes to remove from a site. As a result, a Fulcrum3D Sodar can be relocated to a new location in a single morning or afternoon, and only one person and a standard vehicle is required to carry out the relocation. A Fulcrum3D Sodar can be operating on a new site within a day after deciding to relocate the sensor.

reduced maintenance & insurance costs

Wind monitoring masts are prone to damage by lightning, and also involve a risk to the operator through failure and collapse. While rare, masts collapses do happen and can be dangerous to stock and humans, as well as cause significant damage to farm assets.

Wind monitoring masts also require annual maintenance including sensor replacement to ensure data accuracy.

A Fulcrum3D Sodar does not have such risks, and maintenance is minimal due to the lack of moving parts.

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