BSH and Fraunhofer IWES Launch a Mobile Measuring Buoy

Press release /

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES have installed a monitoring measuring buoy to the west of the FINO 3 research platform with the aid of the Cuxhaven Waterways and Shipping office’s “Neuwerk” multipurpose vessel. The buoy will collect meteorological and oceanographic data there.

Measuring 2.5 m in width and approximately 11 m in height, it is fitted with a LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) wind measurement device, which emits laser beams to measure the wind in increments up to a height of 250 m. Additional measurement devices attached to the sensor chain, which hangs below the buoy and extends to just above the seabed, measure the current at various depths, the salinity, and the oxygen content as well as the temperature of the water. A floor sediment frame is also positioned close to the buoy and measures the current along the entire length of the water column as well as the temperature and salinity on the seabed.

The buoy can be used for both long-term measuring and flexible deployments. The oceanographic data are required among other things for selecting the foundations for offshore wind turbines, for estimating sediment transport, and for calculating wave loads. Knowledge of the median wind speeds at the height of the wind turbines’ nacelles is decisive for calculating wind yields and the design of the turbines. As such, these measurement data are just as important for offshore wind energy companies and planning authorities as warning and weather forecasting services.

Within the scope of the “MoBo” joint research project, Fraunhofer IWES and the BSH developed the monitoring buoy from the design phase through to production of the prototype. The research project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) to the tune of € 1.5 million.

Following comprehensive testing in Bremerhaven’s harbor basin, last summer saw the start of the offshore practice test in the North Sea with the installation of the buoy.

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) is the central maritime authority in Germany. Here, some 850 people from around 100 different professions focus on issues relating to maritime navigation, oceanography, nautical hydrography, offshore wind energy, and administration. The agency maintains a fleet of five measurement, wreck search, and research vessels, which operates in Germany’s Exclusive Economic Zone of the North and Baltic Seas. The BSH is active internationally in more than 12 organizations and is involved in around 200 associated committees, including those focusing on the development of international agreements. The BSH is a higher federal authority and departmental research institute within the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and is based in Hamburg and Rostock.

Fraunhofer IWES secures investments in technological developments through validation, shortens innovation cycles, accelerates certification procedures, and increases planning accuracy by means of innovative measurement methods in the wind energy sector. At present, around 220 academics and employees as well as more than 80 students are employed at the five sites: Bremerhaven, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, and Oldenburg.


For all inquiries

Tina Leiding
Meteorologist (BSH)
Tel.: +49 (0)40/3190-3282

Katrin Benner
Deputy media spokesperson (BSH)
Tel.: + 49 (0)40/3190-1011

Erik Patschke
Head of Wind Farm Development
Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES
Am Seedeich 45
27572 Bremerhaven, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)471/14290-315

LiDAR buoy