With sustainability for a safe and dark sky.
Walldorf, Paderborn, 01 October 2020
The retrofitting of wind farms with the so-called demand-based night marking (BNK) is making great strides. This should be good news for the residents of wind farms. Because: the new technology reduces the nightly red flashing of the wind turbines by up to 98 percent, because the signal lights are only activated when an aircraft approaches the wind farm. The pioneer and one of the leading suppliers of this
technology is the company Lanthan Safe Sky. In developing the system, the company followed a sustainable approach right from the start. Thanks to good cooperation with the manufacturers, it was possible to configure the BNK components in such a way that, as a rule, the existing signal lights on the wind turbines can continue to be operated. This saves resources and is more cost-effective for the wind power operators.
Now Lanthan Safe Sky is consistently taking a further step towards sustainability: against the background of the rapidly increasing number of installed BNK systems, it was decided to locate the server structure for processing the detected signals in a green data centre. So it was obvious to take this step together with WestfalenWIND IT. The company from Paderborn is part of the WestfalenWIND Group and has developed windCORES, a concept for the construction and operation of data centres in wind turbines. “This closes the circle for us. It’s the perfect symbiosis in terms of resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In this way, wind power benefits from our system and we from wind power,” Olaf Schultz, authorised representative of Lanthan Safe Sky GmbH, is pleased to say.
The move to the climate-friendly data centre, which is operated in a wind farm in Lichtenau near Paderborn, is scheduled to take place before the end of October. At windCORES, the focus is also on the efficient use of existing resources: for example, the rooms in the existing wind towers and the digital infrastructure available there will be optimally utilised. “In Germany, renewable energies are also being shut down time and again because the electricity grid is overloaded. These shutdowns also affect our wind farms. In 2019, around 5.4 TWh of cleanly produced energy was lost across Germany. This would allow one third of all data centres in this country to be operated in a climate-friendly manner. So it makes sense to build energy-intensive data centres where they can take the electricity directly on site,” adds Nina Schwenniger from windCORES.
About the companies:
windCORES is a brand of WestfalenWIND IT GmbH & Co.KG, which is part of the WestfalenWIND Group. The group, based in Paderborn and Lichtenau, operates and manages around 170 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 350 MW. It also has its own electricity sales division, a photovoltaic division and its own service team for the maintenance of wind turbines.
With windCores, WestfalenWIND wants to make the digital world “greener” and offer an innovative solution for a distributed data centre infrastructure of the future. The concept for operating climate-neutral data centres in wind turbines was developed by the company’s subsidiary WestfalenWIND IT GmbH & Co.KG in cooperation with the University of Paderborn and registered as a patent. In 2019, the idea was awarded the German Data Centre Prize.
The Lanthan Safe Sky GmbH has the mission to make the sky safer and nights darker. It emerged from the founders and players of Lanthan, Air Avionics and RECASE and thus combines the expertise of a leading provider of obstacle markings, an aviation-approved avionics system manufacturer and an experienced engineering and consulting service provider from the field of renewable energies.
The companies involved came together years ago to bring safe, cost-effective and sustainable detection technologies to market with the Transponder BNK.
Over a long period of time, hard work was done to create acceptance for this young technology. With success, because a broad consensus was reached: New legal regulations in countries such as Germany, but also at the ICAO, the world’s highest-ranking international civil aviation organisation, allow the use of transponder BNK technology, which is emission-free and based purely on the reception of data that every aircraft transmits anyway.