Bat mortality resulting from actual or near-collision with operational wind turbine rotors is a phenomenon that is widespread but not well understood. Because bats rely on information contained in high-frequency echoes to determine the nature and movement of a target, it is important to consider how ultrasonic pulses similar to those used by bats for echolocation may be interacting with operational turbine rotor blades. By assessing the characteristics of reflected ultrasonic echoes, moving turbine blades operating under low wind speed conditions (<6 m s(-1)) were found to produce distinct Doppler shift profiles at different angles to the rotor. Frequency shifts of up to ±700-800 Hz were produced, which may not be perceptible by some bat species. Monte Carlo simulation of bat-like sampling by echolocation revealed that over 50 rotor echoes could be required by species such as Pipistrellus pipistrellus for accurate interpretation of blade movement, which may not be achieved in the bat's approach time-window. In summary, it was found that echoes returned from moving blades had features which could render them attractive to bats or which might make it difficult for the bat to accurately detect and locate blades in sufficient time to avoid a collision.
Wind turbines and bat mortality: Doppler shift profiles and ultrasonic bat-like pulse reflection from moving turbine blades
Title: Wind turbines and bat mortality: Doppler shift profiles and ultrasonic bat-like pulse reflection from moving turbine blades
October 01, 2010
Journal: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Long, C.; Flint, J.; Lepper, P. (2010). Wind turbines and bat mortality: Doppler shift profiles and ultrasonic bat-like pulse reflection from moving turbine blades. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128(4), 2238-2245.