From: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Published August 11, 2017 09:55 AM

Night vision for bird- & bat-friendly offshore wind power

The same technology that enables soldiers to see in the dark can also help protect birds and bats near offshore wind turbines.

Night vision goggles use thermal imaging, which captures infrared light that's invisible to the human eye. Now, researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are using thermal imaging to help birds and bats near offshore wind farms. PNNL is developing software called ThermalTracker to automatically categorize birds and bats in thermal video. Birds and bats fly over offshore waters, but they're difficult to track in such remote locations.

"ThermalTracker can help developers and regulators make informed decisions about siting and operating offshore wind projects," said PNNL engineer Shari Matzner, who leads ThermalTracker's development. "We need scientific tools like this to better understand how offshore wind turbines can coexist with birds and bats."

The software can help determine if there are many birds or bats near an offshore wind project and if they could be affected by the project. If that's the case, officials can consider adjusting the location of a proposed project or modifying an existing project's operations.

Continue reading at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Image: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's ThermalTracker software analyzes thermal video to help birds and bats near offshore wind farms. PNNL engineers Shari Matzner and Garrett Staines discuss their development of the software while doing field research near Sequim Bay in Washington state.
Credit: Andrea Starr / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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