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Holographic system claimed to solve wind turbine radar clash

UK technology group Cambridge Consultants has spun off a new company to commercialise a 3D holographic radar system designed to enable safe operation of wind farms close to airports.

Aveillant’s non-scanning, continuously-tracking 3D radar technology can detect the presence and position of aircraft in the vicinity of the largest wind turbines to “a level of accuracy that will assure safe separation of aircraft and turbine in the most demanding airspace”, claims the company.

Wind turbines in motion can mimic aircraft on an air traffic controllers' radar screens. Some 6.5GW of UK wind farm applications are currently subject to radar-related objections, according to industry body RenewableUK.

Cambridge Consultants first looked at the issue of holographic radar technology and wind farm interference in 2007, running its first small scale trial near Swaffham in Norfolk two years later.

Unlike traditional radar – which works by scanning a narrow beam around the field of view, briefly highlighting each subject and recording its position – holographic radar illuminates the whole field of view continuously thanks to a constant feed of simultaneous beams from the array.

Aveillant’s proprietary system has been developed in consultation with wind farm developers and airport operators – the two key target markets for the technology – along with the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change and Ministry of Defence.

Venture investment for the new company has come from DFJ Esprit and the Aviation Investment Fund, as well as Cambridge Consultants itself.