Bird and bat collisions with wind turbines are of increasing concern to utilities, regulatory agencies, and environmental organizations. Kills have been documented at several wind farms; however, the magnitude of the problem industry-wide is unknown. This report presents the results of a feasibility study for a sensor aimed at developing an automated tool to monitor collisions with wind turbines.
Accelerometers and fiber-optic sensors were identified as possible contact sensor options. Acoustic emission sensors (microphones) were identified as a non-contact option that need not be installed directly on the rotor blades. The three sensor technologies were evaluated on the basis of installation requirements, signal processing needs, and system cost.
Microphones were deemed the most viable sensor system overall. Accelerometers were ranked second because they need to be installed on the rotor blades and thus require associated hardware mounted on the rotor shaft. Fiber-optic sensors were deemed the least feasible, as they have similar installation requirements as the accelerometers and higher equipment costs; moreover, the fiber-optic systems are bulky and would require custom hardware to reduce their size for practical installation on the rotor shaft.