Australian startup develops wind-farm listening device

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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 commercialization 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.

The Ping Monitor. (Courtesy: Rosina Possingham)

Data collected is transferred from remote sites via low orbit nanosatellite technology.

The second-generation Ping Monitor 2.0 is scheduled for launch in August.

Ping Services CEO Matthew Stead said there are 3,800 blade failures globally every year, causing up to $2 billion in damage.

He said the tech startup recently won its first client and was further testing 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,” Stead said.

The Ping Monitor intelligent listening system is also being applied to asset monitoring in the mining, transport, and power sectors.

South Australia has emerged as the epicenter of the Australian space industry in the past 12 months. Adelaide is also home to the new Australian Space Agency and dozens of space startups and major Tier 1 defense companies.

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