Situation sketch Flidar project

Before I start discussing the relevance and the importance of the thesis topic, let me first give you a little situation sketch about our project.

The topic we are working on concerns the development of a renewable power system for a floating Lidar or Flidar.  A Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a appliance that is capable of measuring wind speeds by sending and catching beams of light.  The light emitted by the Lidar is reflected by airborne particles like dust, pollen, water droplets which cause a slight change in the frequency of the backscattered light.  This principle is known as the Doppler effect and can be used to calculate the wind speeds.

Before building a new wind farm a Lidar is used to gather data about the wind quality on the building site.  For onshore projects a Lidar can be placed upon the site and data can be analyzed quite easily. Offshore the situation is slightly different, a platform has to be constructed to support the Lidar and other measuring equipment.  This already requires a serious investment without knowing if the site offers opportunities for a new wind farm.

The company we work with is called 3E ( and they are commercializing a solution to overcome this high investment and still gather the necessary data.  By attaching the Lidar on a buoy and thus creating a floating Lidar or Flidar drastic cost reductions are possible.  The Flidar is designed to operate maintenance free and autonomous for more than six months in demanding offshore environments such as the European North sea area.  The buoy and its equipment is fully powered by renewable energy from solar panels and wind turbines.

Our thesis consists out of redesigning and improving the power system and come up with creative and innovative solutions to improve energy, space and cost efficiency.

I hope this short introduction helps you to understand what Tijl and I will be doing as a thesis. If you have any questions, remarks or if you would like some extra information, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

The Flidar measurement buoy


6 thoughts on “Situation sketch Flidar project

  1. gabuglio says:

    As this whole construction is situated in the sea. How is it protected against possible heavy storms? Is it still possible to collect the proper data in this kind of situations?

    • deckersbram says:

      The buoy itself has an anchor securing it’s location in sea. There is constant communication between the buoy and gps satellites to make sure that the buoy stay’s on the same location (or in an acceptable area around the exact location). When for some reason (for example heavy storms) the buoy would drift away from it’s location alarm signals will be send out using gsm signals containing the location of the buoy so it can be picked up.

      To make sure that there is no false data obtained the measurement device is fitted with a wiper and a water pump to make sure the surface of the Lidar is clean (just like in a car). So the emitted light will not be influenced by dust or water on the surface of the Lidar. The data measured by the floating Lidar has proven to have an accuracy equivalent to the performance of on-shore LiDAR measurement devices.

      Hope this answers your question.

  2. woutcordeel says:

    When I look to the photo, i have my fears about physical strength/protection. The wind turbines look quite fragile. High waves have a huge mass, so isn’t there any danger of damaging some parts when it crushes against the structure? And what about the prevention for damage to the solar panels due to ice storms?

  3. tijlcrauwels says:

    Valid questions, first of all there are two kinds of waves: Breaking waves and deep water waves.

    For the first type of waves, the breaking waves, it is true that the turbines and pv panels have to deal with high forces. Looking at the pv panels this is taken care of by using offshore pv panels, these have a steel frame around it and are covered with strong glass. This reduces the performance but increases the security. As for the turbines,they have flexible blades which allows them to bend and take on large forces. Also when there are high waves they usually come with lots of wind, which makes the turbine turn fast and this also makes them stronger due to the circular motion.

    For the second type of waves, the deep water waves, the buoy floats on top of the water so there are no forces due to the water. So no problems will occure.

    For temperatures below 0 there will be problems, the performance will reduce as the pv panels freeze up, for the turbines they loose aerodynamics and ultimately will stop moving and they won’t produce electricity anymore. These problems will be only temporary, because once the devices are defrosted they will return to their natural state and will start working again.

    Hope this answers your questions about the Flidar.

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