Drone that could save bats from the horrors of wind turbine blades

deterrent. (A) Bottom view, schematic illustration: Elements are attached to plastic supports and fixed to the drone’s landing gear. Light and sound beams are shown for illustration and are not indicative of actual transmission range. (B) Front view of the deterrent. Credit: Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation (2022). DOI: 10.1002/rse2.316

A new study by Tel Aviv University and the University of Haifa offers an original solution to the biological challenge of wind turbine operation and helps prevent damage to flying animals, especially bats. Wind turbines around the world kill millions of bats and other animals flying over turbine blades each year, according to researchers.

The researchers’ new development is a unique drone-mounted technology that transmits a combination of ultrasonic signals and lights. This deters bats and causes them to fly higher outside the danger zone, keeping the turbines running efficiently and continuously.

The study was led by Yuval Werber, a doctoral student in the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa, and his two advisors, head of Tel Aviv University’s Sagol School of Neuroscience and professor of the school. It was led by Yossi Yovel. Head of Department of Zoology and Evolutionary and Environmental Biology, University of Haifa Prof. In collaboration with Nir Sapir and company WinGo Energy and entrepreneur Gadi Hareli.

Article published Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.

Yovel said, “Wind turbines are seen as a promising technology in the field of renewable energy, but their operation presents several biological challenges. Today the only solution to prevent the death of bats is to stop turbine activity. bats are expected to be particularly active.”

Credit: Tel-Aviv University

“However, such interruptions reduce the efficiency of turbines and the amount of energy they can generate. The advantage of the drone is that it is in constant motion and alerts bats to danger by transmitting a combination of visual and acoustic signals designed specifically for bats. tends to ignore them.”

Yuval Werber said, “The work that is part of my doctoral thesis was conducted in the Hula Valley, where bat activity is intense. We ran the drone at an altitude of 100 meters.

“To track the activities of bats, we used ground-based RADAR that allows tracking at an altitude of 100 meters and above, and added the LIDAR device, a laser-based tool used to detect objects at short distances, mainly in the automotive industry – for tracking at a lower altitude. We also made acoustic recordings of bats in flight using receivers placed at three different heights: one meter, 150 meters and 300 meters. More importantly, our study is the first in the world to combine these technologies (RADAR, LIDAR and high-altitude acoustic recorders) to track bats. It was work.”

Using a variety of tracking methods, the researchers compared the bats’ normal activity with their activity in the presence of the drone carrying the deterrent device. The findings were conclusive; The device was able to keep the bats away. With the presence of the drone, the activity of bats beneath it decreased by about 40 percent up to about 400 meters. On the other hand, the drone’s activities increased to 800 meters from the altitude of 100 meters.

prof. “The device appears to be effective at repelling bats from its immediate environment – ​​bats detect the visual and ultrasonic signals it emits and choose to fly over it, as we hoped,” says Yovel.

“We assume that if the device is activated near a turbine, it will prevent bats from flying over the turbine and being harmed. It is an effective and easy-to-implement solution that is affordable, with great benefits to all parties: while keeping the bats from dying, the turbine is running and green energy is safe, “We’re considering doing a follow-up experiment. We’re at a wind turbine site to test the efficiency of the device under these conditions.”

More information:
Yuval Werber et al, Drone-mounted audio-visual deterrence of bats: implications for reducing aerial wildlife deaths by wind turbines, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation (2022). DOI: 10.1002/rse2.316

Provided by Tel-Aviv University

Quotation: Drone capable of rescuing bats from the horrors of wind turbine blades (2022, December 16), retrieved December 16, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-12-drone-terror-turbine-blades.html.

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