Studying Sea Waves with Radar
Off shore wind is steady and blows harder. If a country is densely populated it is hard to find open space to install wind farms. That is why there are more and more offshore wind farms in densely populated Europe where there is limited space on land and relatively large offshore areas with shallow water. Scientists of the Geesthacht GKSS Research Centre are interested in offshore winds and mechanics of sea waves. They are working on a radar system to study the behavior of the sea waves. This technology will be available for utilization on the North Sea on the FINO3 research platform. This technology will help in finding out the details of the interactions between offshore wind power machines and swells.
A windfarm is not some mutually exclusive event. They leave some impact on their surroundings including flora and fauna. FINO3 research team is covering these areas too in its research work. Their canvass of study is a bit large. FINO3 research platforms are situated at the “Dan Tysk” sand bank. Dan Tysk is located about 80 kilometers to the west of Sylt. Around 80 wind power plants will be located in this area within a span of few years. Researchers are aiming to gauge the risks of offshore wind energy parks and how these parks will affect the environment. They will keep tab on the changes in the sea swells. They will also keep a watch on migration of birds. This research team will measure the lightening frequencies on the sea.
The coastal researchers of the Geesthacht GKSS Research Centre established a Doppler radar. It is nearly 50 meters above sea level on the FINO3 lattice mast. The radar will help in determining how the ‘breakers’ or large waves will affect the wind power plants. They also want to find out to what extent the structures can change the surrounding swell. Dr. Freidwart Ziemer, who is the GKSS Department Manager of Radar Hydrology, explains, “With our radar, we can even track the individual waves for the first time.” Designers and operators of offshore wind power plants or oil platforms are interested in the large breakers too. They also want to unlock the mystery of force that creates the steep massive waves.
When we install offshore wind farms we must take certain facts into account. First, each wind rotor produces tumultuous air flows in its “tow” and certain periodical movements. Other surrounding structures can’t remain untouched by such movements. It can lead to undesired or even dangerous vibrations. Contacts between waves and wind power plants can create interferences. This means in a wave field which is harmless without a windmill park, single, very high waves can be created by these interferences that can possibly trigger an adverse on these plants.
Friedwart Ziemer talks about such intermingling of waves and windmills, “I am sure that we will soon be able to better assess the swells and the force of the breakers.” Why so much careful considerations are given to blend of machine and nature? This amalgamation study will help in better planning and the stability of the systems can be more predictable.