An Australian startup that has developed an acoustic listening device for monitoring the health of wind turbines has raised AU$850,000 to support the commercialisation of its world-first product.
Adelaide-based company, Ping Services, has closed a $650,000 seed fund round after securing an additional $200,000 in government funding earlier this year.
The patented device, known as the Ping Monitor, uses acoustic analysis, machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) to continuously detect wind turbine blade damage.
The key piece of technology is the algorithm that can rate the health of the turbine based on its acoustic signature and monitor changes over time.
The device easily attaches to wind turbine towers and actively listens to the blades’ acoustic signature while rotating to detect blade faults such as pitting or cracks caused by lightning strikes or hail.
Its conical shape protects its microphone from rain, debris such as bird droppings and ground-level noise.
Data collected is transferred from remote sites through low orbit nanosatellite technology.
The technology is a significant advancement to the current method of inspections which are carried out on an ad-hoc or annual basis.
There are an estimated 3,800 blade failures around the world each year and a total repair cost of up to $2 billion.
Any undetected damage can become more serious over time, increasing the cost of repair and maintenance and the risk of catastrophic failure.
Ping Services CEO, Matthew Stead, said the tech start-up won its first client last month and was further trialling the technology with some of the biggest wind farm operators in the world.
“This technology is a game-changer for the wind farm O&M sector and there’s a rush to see which large operator will be first out of the gate to start continuously monitoring their turbines,” Mr Stead said.
The Ping Monitor intelligent listening system is also being applied to asset monitoring in the mining, transport and power sectors.
Additionally, the second-generation Ping Monitor 2.0 is expected to be launched next month.