ZephIR, a laser anemometer, is an easily transportable ground-based instrument combining three sealed pods for laser optics, data collection/communication electronics and battery power. In simple terms, ZephIR projects a conical infrared beam to illuminate particles in the atmosphere which are detected as backscattered light by an integral receiver. Target particles along the beam produce a Doppler shift allowing the processed information to determine wind speed and direction in five pre-selected, highly accurate and repeatable distances up to 200 metres above the instrument. Wind speed, direction and wind turbulence information can be stored in flash memory or transferred to clients via mobile phone or satellite. The technology is proving to offer a significant advantage over traditional wind measurement masts, which involve the costly erection of large structures, require lengthy building permission timescales, and also elicit health and safety concerns.
Heason's initial involvement in the project was with QinetiQ, a leading global research and development laboratory that began working on a commercially viable solution for wind measurement back in the early 2000s using its extensive knowledge of lidar. The product is now field proven and licensed to Natural Power; a renewable energy solutions provider based in Scotland.