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High-performance visibility measurement

Wind energy is one of the forefront sources society has come to depend on as a clean energy solution. Of course, there are always challenges when it comes to implementing new solutions. Wind turbines are a key component of wind energy generation but are known to have some drawbacks that make them less desirable to the public.

A common downside of wind turbines is the light pollution they cause as a result of their aircraft warning lights. The light could be a source of annoyance to homes and workplaces and has been a barrier for the deployment of wind farms near populated areas. Despite their intrusion during good visibility conditions, the warning lights are necessary for safety and navigation during turbulent weather.

These contradicting elements made it necessary to develop a system that could identify when turbine lights needed to be used in full force and when they could be lowered to benefit both aircrafts and residents. To do so, Campbell Scientific developed an affordable visibility sensor that allows visibility measurements to dim lights in good weather conditions.

Campbell Scientific’s solution is the CS120A, a high-performance visibility measurement sensor. The CS120A sensor has infrared forward-scatter technology and uses the proven 42-degree scatter angle to report the meteorological observable range for fog and snow in the range of 5 to 75,000 meters.

Compared to similar sensors, the CS120A design measures visibility in a relatively clean space because the position of the heads and body minimize the disturbance of airflow at the measurement volume.

The geometry and downwards-pointing sensor hoods help the CS120A avoid the common problems associated with sunlight shining directly into the lens, which caused errors for other manufacturers’ sensors. The sensor is also vibration tested and can withstand the large and varying amounts of vibration on wind turbines.

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