I first wrote about Catch The Wind back in November and in the 10 months that have passed the company with the “spider sensor for wind turbines” (my wording) has made some solid progress. The company’s sensor, called the Vindicator, can detect wind speeds and direction up to 1,000 metres away, giving a wind turbine’s control system enough time to adjust blades and nacelle position accordingly. Over time, this improves the efficiency of the turbine and reduces wear on components and blades. In March the company announced its first commercial sale and the launch of a small field trail. Today, it announced a relatively large field trial with Canadian Hydro Developers, the largest wind developer in Canada.
As part of the trial, Catch The Wind will install eight test units of its Vindicator on eight Canadian Hydro turbines that are part of a 15-turbine wind farm in Pincher Creek, Alberta. The plan is to do a side-by-side comparison of the turbines with the sensor with the turbines without the sensor. Canadian Hydro is willing to do this because it’s an older wind farm and the warranties on the Nordex N60 1.3 megawatt turbines have expired.
The units will be installed during the last quarter of this year and the field trial will last up to six months. “We believe the trial will allow us to demonstrate that even minor adjustments to the alignment of turbines can have a dramatic impact on stress loads and energy output, significantly enhancing the profitability of a wind farm,” said Phil Rogers, Catch The Wind’s president, in a statement.
This is a trial worth following closely, as it will demonstrate quite clearly whether the technology works as promised or underdelivers.