Wind-Lidar-Boje NG

Development of a next-generation wind lidar buoy to satisfy the requirements of the offshore wind industry – Wind-Lidar-Boje NG

Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
Funding amount:  € 1,140,610
Duration: 02/2021 - 01/2024


  • As one of the central energy sources of the future, offshore wind energy needs to be rapidly expanded in the coming years to achieve climate goals.
  • In situ wind measurements are of central importance to ensuring the fast planning and economic viability of projects, which is largely why wind lidar buoys have prevailed over measuring masts.
  • However, the first generation of buoys has yet to satisfy the industry requirements. For this reason, Fraunhofer IWES is now developing the next generation of floating lidar systems (FLS) in the Wind-Lidar-Boje NG project.

Offshore wind energy will play a key role in guaranteeing CO2-neutral energy in the future. In this way, Europe hopes to become climate neutral by 2050 at the latest. According to experts, this will require the installation of up to 7 GW of new offshore wind farms each year, meaning speed is of the essence when it comes to planning. At the same time, the planned farms are under considerable pressure to keep costs low, as electricity prices are mostly determined by tenders in which the contract goes to the lowest bidder. It is therefore all the more important that wind measurements taken before the planning stage to determine the wind potential provide the requisite data quickly, reliably, and cost-effectively.

In recent years, wind lidar buoys have prevailed as measuring devices over measuring masts because they offer multiple advantages at once: they are more flexible and less expensive, plus they can cover greater measurement heights than masts. Nevertheless, no floating lidar system (FLS) has yet been classified at the “commercial stage” assessment level, which is important for industry and banks. The first-generation buoys were not designed for the required high data availability and long-term reliability, rather they were initially intended to prove the feasibility of FLS in principle.

The goal of the Wind-Lidar-Boje NG project at Fraunhofer IWES is therefore to redesign a wind lidar buoy as the first system and pioneer of the next generation (NG) of FLS which satisfies current and future requirements. That includes not only 95% system availability of data over the complete measurement period, but also simple maintenance and repair of the system as well as its easy and fast installation and removal. Furthermore, the new FLS will feature a robust power supply as well as an intelligent and customizable control system and remote monitoring system. 

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