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New wind prospecting system

The prototype balloon taking off from the terrace roof of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Barcelona.

The prototype balloon taking off from the terrace roof of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Barcelona.

lecturer Bernat Codina, from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology, and developed by Andriy Lyasota, a Russian aeronautical engineer who is currently doing a Master's degree in Energy Engineering (UB-UPC).

lecturer Bernat Codina, from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology, and developed by Andriy Lyasota, a Russian aeronautical engineer who is currently doing a Master's degree in Energy Engineering (UB-UPC).

17/05/2012

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The Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona has developed an innovative wind prospecting system designed to being used especially in marine environments. The project is based on a helium aerostat balloon which has a module with meteorological sensors and other positioning systems which allow knowing at all times wind strength and direction, regardless of the position of the balloon.

The prototype, which has been coordinated by lecturer Bernat Codina, from the Department of Astronomy and Meteorology, and developed by Andriy Lyasota, a Russian aeronautical engineer who is currently doing a Master's degree in Energy Engineering (UB-UPC), allows sending data  through a Wi-Fi connection to the monitoring and recording unit located on land. The sensors module also has position and anti-collision lights that allow keeping the balloon suspended in the air permanently.

 

The prototype balloon is three meters long and its shape is similar to a saddled seabream. Thanks to this design it can withstand winds of up to 150 km/h and reach a height of 150 metres by means of a cable that holds 600 kilos. In the first phase of the project researchers from the UB have created a real prototype of the system and the first flight and data collection tests have been very promising. Lecturer Bernat Codina explains its characteristics: “Current technology has allowed us to recover the idea of using a helium aerostat balloon in which we have incorporated a team of sensors that in total weights four kilos”.

 

In the future, it is foreseen that wind energy will be developed mainly in marine environments. Hitherto, previous studies to identify suitable sites have installed meteorological towers or other measurement systems on maritime platforms which require large investments. The system proposed by the UB would install the helium aerostat balloon on a floating buoy, which would significantly reduce costs in the previous prospecting campaign.

 

On the other hand, as Andriy Lyasota points out, “this system would minimize the environmental impact on the seabed as it does not require any construction at all”. However, the expert concludes that “some technological challenges must be solved, for example, we must ensure that it can last up to a year in extreme conditions” so that it can be used for wind prospecting.

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