The utilization of radar absorbing technologies to reduce radar interference opens a unique opportunity to access potential wind turbine benefits.
FREMONT, CA: The value of renewable energy sources is shown by the fact that green investment and targets are among the few fields that will remain unaffected by the drastic changes that will occur at every level of society in the coming years.
Wind power is a critical component of these renewable energy targets. Onshore and offshore wind projects are expected to skyrocket in the coming decades, with up to 450 GW of offshore wind planned by 2050.
Wind turbines' effects on radar installations and the potential objections raised to avoid radar coverage degradation must be addressed to meet these innovative and ambitious goals. Wind turbine radar interference is a pressing and complicated issue for the industry, which is intensified by the global push to increase renewable energy contributions.
Due to the issue's global significance, leading wind energy groups worldwide have identified it as a priority, resulting in the formation of several dedicated task forces entrusted with developing viable mitigation strategies.
While wind turbines' negative impact on radar performance has been known for more than two decades, it is only recently recognized as a significant problem because the number of wind farms is growing. The space available for radar stations located without interference is reducing. As a result, finding a solution has become significant.
Mitigating wind turbine radar interference with radar absorbing materials
Some of the areas of importance while considering the function of radar absorbing materials to reduce wind turbine radar interference:
Frequency of absorption – Radar sites worldwide operate at different frequencies based on their location, primary purpose, and desired operating range. The primary frequencies of interest are between 1 and 12 GHz, so any solution must work across this range.
Bandwidth/single band – There are several cases where windfarm sites are planned in areas that will impact multiple radar stations operating at various frequencies. It's essential to reduce both radars at the same time, either by using an absorber with several absorption bands or with an absorption band large enough to cover both operating frequencies.
Weight of solution – The impact on the turbine's performance is critical in developing a material solution explicitly designed to be used on wind turbines. The material's additional weight can trigger manufacturing issues for wind turbines, and the blade solution must not increase drag or alter the shape of the aerofoil.
By targeting each of these areas, technologies are being developed to provide exceptional radar absorption levels across a broad range of frequencies, including multi-band absorption for windfarm sites located near multiple radar stations.