The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has announced the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 9,395,338 for self-regulating terrestrial turbine control through environmental sensing.
The Multimodal Environmental Impact Monitor, or MIME, developed by engineers at WHOI, uses an all-in-one sensor package that measures flicker, acoustic noise and vibration generated by wind turbines. Alone or in combination, data from these modalities may then be used to provide input for turbine control paradigms in order to optimize turbine operations and/or maximize energy production, explains the nonprofit research and higher education facility, based in Woods Hole, Mass.
“Current models for blade shadow flicker don’t take into account surrounding reflectors or structures – only topography and sun placement – and such estimates may be inaccurate,” says Paul Fucile, WHOI’s senior engineer and MIME inventor.
Fucile also notes that measurement of turbine infrasound generation has become an area of interest in recent years – particularly because of its potential health effects on those living in close proximity.
MIME is intended for permanent installation at turbine sites for persistent observation with the option for turbine control, or it can be placed on a tripod for short-term studies of multiple sites.
“The goal is to provide something that is affordable and user-friendly,” adds Fucile.