New ways to develop the future

Wind energy is an industry in constant change. Just ask the wind turbine manufacturer Nordex, which has developed and built wind turbines for over 25 years. Even after installing over 4000 wind turbines in 34 different countries, the company is still seeking new technologies, like the AQS Wind Finder 500, to help it seize future development opportunities.

Even though Nordex has been a well known name in the wind energy community since 1985, the company only opened its first Swedish office in 2006. However, this fact didn’t stop Nordex from hitting the ground running – it has since constructed 47 new turbines at various wind farms around the country.

“To be precise, construction of the new farms only took place during 2008 and 2009. For the first couple of years the main focus was to establish our sales business and survey the development possibilities,” explains Kristian Baurne, an energy engineer developing new projects for Nordex in Sweden.

It’s not only the number of Nordex wind turbines that have multiplied in Sweden during the past two years: the company today employs more than 10 people in Sweden, of whom four work in the project development department.

“Our business model is based on the successful identification of locations suitable for wind farms, development of the project and finally erection of the Nordex wind turbines,” says Mr Baurne. “This makes the task of measuring and analysing wind data a key factor for success.”

With this in mind the company decided to invest in two AQS Wind Finder 500 sodar (sonic detection and ranging) units at the beginning of 2009. A year later this number has grown to six. The technology helps Nordex perform initial scans of future sites far more rapidly than can be achieved using traditional met masts.

“Many sites never get built for political or environmental reasons, so we need to be able to survey many different locations,” explains Mr Baurne. “As the Wind Finder 500 is easy to transport and set-up, it offers us a perfect solution. Furthermore, we don’t need a building permit.”

According to Mr Baurne, the sodar also provides other benefits. Because of its technique, the equipment can offer complete wind data from 20 meters height to the top of the rotating blades.

“Although we’ve only had Wind Finder 500 for 12 months, we are confident that the technology has great potential that will benefit the wider industry,” he says.

With that conclusion Mr Baurne also reveals that the Wind Finder 500 may additionally be used by Nordex to help analysing the behaviour of wind and turbulence over forested areas and in existing wind farms.

“During discussions with our wind experts in the Wind & Site Assessment Team there has been a lot of interest in the extra benefits that Wind Finder can provide, especially when it comes to using bi-static sodar, where two units can be combined to measure wind data in one specific point.”

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