For the development and commercialisation of a novel lidar anemometry system which has allowed cheaper and more efficient wind farm siting and operation.
For wind turbines to be sited and operated cheaply and efficiently, an accurate understanding of local wind speed is critical, both to ensure that energy can be generated effectively, and also to protect the turbines from damage.
To obtain this information the standard solution is to construct a tall meteorological mast in the region of interest; however, this can be prohibitively expensive, especially in some offshore areas. The innovative solution developed by Zephir was to project a laser into the air and detect the Doppler-shifted backscatter from tiny particles and dust in the atmosphere, and use this to calculate the wind speed and direction at a given location.
The ZephIR lidar is portable, accurate, and able to take remote measurements from the ground up to and beyond the hub height of modern wind turbines. It is able to operate autonomously over many months in hostile locations, including offshore, enabling cheaper and safer development of wind farms.
Now operating as a sister company to Natural Power, Zephir Ltd was originally a spin-out from research undertaken at QinetiQ. The company introduced the first commercially available lidar for the wind industry in 2004. Since then, they have grown into the market leader and an established global brand. They employ 30 staff at their base in Ledbury.