Researchers from Norway have developed a system that is intended to protect birds from colliding with wind turbines. The technology is expected to be used in around five years.
The energy transition will bring with it some changes in the medium term. Numerous new wind turbines are being built and solar parks are also adding to the image of many landscapes. But in addition to protecting the climate, wind turbines also pose some crucial risks. The systems pose a risk for many birds.
That’s why many system operators often track the movement of animals and deactivate their wind turbines at certain times. Mass bird deaths often occur worldwide, particularly during the mating season or during the transition from summer to winter (and vice versa). According to the Norwegian research institute Sinef, this will soon change.
New system aims to reduce bird collisions with wind turbines by 80 percent
According to the institute, it is possible to reduce bird deaths by up to 80 percent using the technology presented. This is made possible by both cameras and radar systems that detect approaching birds. The system then transmits the information to the systems, which then reduce their speed. This allows birds to escape in an emergency.
Nevertheless, the technology is not yet error-free. Because if birds approached from the side of the system, detection usually failed. In addition, the system cannot prevent collisions with the rotor head. Ultimately, there is also a lack of practical results. So far, researchers have only simulated corresponding situations.
Wind energy: Shutting down systems is not a good option
In addition to reducing speed, a complete shutdown could prevent a collision. Still, that’s easier said than done. After all, a ten-megawatt turbine takes about 20 seconds to stop. In addition, bird flight paths are difficult to predict.
The future still has to show the effectiveness of such systems. Sinef assumes that commercial readiness will be reached in around five years. Then significantly more birds could be saved from a cruel death.