Photo: Michael Courtney, DTU Wind Energy

WindScanner is a DTU initiated Pan-European distributed, mobile research infrastructure for scanning wind fields. spurred from the Danish national research infrastructure via the EU ESFRI road map process. was established in 2010 to provide the European wind energy research community and industry with remote sensing based wind scanners, able to map the entire 3D wind fields around today’s huge wind turbines, wind farms, bridges, buildings, forests and mountains. Detailed measurements of the wind flow in the atmosphere are essential to optimize wind turbine design and siting and are thus an important factor for making wind energy cheaper and more reliable for the benefit of the society. 

The technology
Traditional wind speed measurements are registered using mechanical devices such as cup anemometers and wind vanes that need to be mounted at the points of interest. Usually they are installed in meteorological (met) towers.  A WindScanner System, on the contrary, is composed of several ground-based and beam-steered wind lidars, being remote-sensors using laser light to measure wind speeds.

The WindScanners can be placed remotely (usually on the ground), from hundreds of meters to several kilometers from the point of interest. One lidar can only measure the wind speed in the pointing direction of the laser beam. In order to measure wind speed and direction, at least two simultaneously measuring separated lidars are required. For 3D wind velocity measurements (speed, direction and inclination) three separate synchronous operated wind lidars are needed. In the WindScanner systems, the beams of the lidars are steered synchronously through a predesigned, common scan pattern so that the wind velocity vectors over a whole area or in a volume can be mapped out from the ground in a short time. 

The research infrastructure provides the users with two different types of WindScanners with different optical architectures; one that is suited for short-range (300 m.) applications and another system more suited for long-range applications (5-10 km.). The WindScanner type to use will depend largely on the measurement range in question and sometimes a hybrid system will be the best solution.

Short-range WindScanners are ground-based velocity field scanning lidars built from steerable continuous wave wind lidars. Entire wind and turbulence velocity vector fields can be mapped out with high 3D space resolution and time within pre-defined scan trajectories or in predefined scan planes at high repetition rate at ranges starting from 1 meter. This is also relevant to wind tunnel studies, and up to 300 m for full-scale open-air wind field surveys.

Long-range WindScanners are wind field scanners built from steerable-pulsed wind lidars. Wind fields can be mapped out, however at lower repetition rates than the short-range lidars, also along user-defined scan trajectories or along predefined scan sweeps at extended ranges up to 5-10 km. provides scientific wind field measurements for users of the infrastructure tailored to the specific and detailed requirements for wind field measurements of the wind engineering and wind energy research society and users:

  • Planning and coordination of WindScanner measurement activities
  • Coordination of purchasing, commissioning, calibration and maintenance of WindScanner equipment
  • Training and education in WindScanner operation and data analysis
  • Development of e-science facilities for campaign design, documentation, data management and data analysis
  • Providing access to the research data 
  • Dissemination of WindScanner opportunities and achievements to foster optimal stakeholder collaboration.


Torben Krogh Mikkelsen
Professor in Remote Sensing for Wind Energy
DTU Wind Energy
+45 46 77 50 09