The spinning of large wind turbines creates “black spots” for radar systems, and in situations where a large number of onshore turbines are close together this can create severe issues for radar systems that are relaying information to an air traffic control system.
BAE subsidiary Integrated System Technologies (IST) has developed the Advanced Digital Tracker (ADT), which sits between the radar signal processor and an air traffic controller’s display screen. The ADT filters out the interference of wind turbines by a combination of advanced algorithms and “fuzzy logic”, presenting a controller with a clear view of the air traffic situation.
In addition to the filtering technology, the ADT is presented as part of an overall display package that replaces the old green and black screens with large plasma screens that should allow controllers to work with increased efficiency.
Ian Metcalf, head of IST’s business development section, believes the ADT is a perfect solution to remove a major barrier to the large scale adoption of wind power in the UK in order to meet Kyoto Protocol renewable energy targets.
“To hit the 2010 target, onshore wind farms are the only viable option for the Government,” he said.
“But at the moment, just over half of all planning applications by energy companies for wind farms are rejected on safety grounds.”
Another possible solution to the radar blinding issue is to construct turbine blades from a material similar to that used in stealth bombers, but Metcalf believes ADT provides a more viable solution.
“The ADT is the best technical solution to today’s wind farm problems,” he said.
“As the use of wind farms increases, and the turbines increase in size, the problem is only going to get bigger.”