Aveillant nails more funding for wind radar

UK technology group Aveillant has locked up £6.75m ($10.2m) in new funding to pave the way for the Cambridge-based company to begin rolling out a holographic radar system designed to enable safe operation of wind farms close to airports.

The company’s non-scanning, continuously-tracking 3D radar technology is said to 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 [an] airspace”.

It is being pilot tested at Cambridge airport, with further demonstrations at Prestwick and Glasgow airports expected in coming weeks.

“Our service model takes away any capital expenditure costs for wind farms and airports and charges a service fee that is proportionate to the generating capacity covered,” says Aveillant chief executive David Crisp.

Wind turbines in motion can mimic aircraft on air traffic controllers’ radar screens causing “turbine clutter”, with some 6.5GW of UK wind farm applications currently subject to radar-related objections, according to industry body RenewableUK.

Aveillant parent company 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