Cambridge Consultants, creator of several successful high-tech start-ups, announced the spin-off of Aveillant with venture investment from DFJ Esprit and AIFCL, the wind industry fund. Aveillant’s technology will remove concerns about aviation safety and air defense that are holding back growth in the wind-energy industry. Wind turbines in motion can mimic aircraft on an air traffic controller’s radar screen. Aveillant will provide airfields with accurate radar data to eliminate potential confusion this could cause, without a loss or compromise in performance. The need is urgent. Currently, 66% of all wind farm applications, equating to 6.5 GW (according to RenewableUK) are being delayed due to this problem in the UK alone.
Aveillant’s business will be to supply equipment and services that will reconcile wind turbines with radar. As aircraft fly over wind farms, current radar systems have difficulty distinguishing between aircraft and rotating turbine blades, potentially causing air traffic controllers to lose sight of the aircraft on primary radar display screens. This can also cause vulnerability for national air defense. Proposed solutions lead to unacceptable compromises either in radar coverage, sensitivity or accuracy. Aveillant’s wind turbine mitigation approach has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including wind-farm developers, airport operators, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The result is a single mitigation technology that promises to meet civil and MoD requirements, and will be cost-effective even for smaller wind farms, as well as generate jobs in the green-energy sector.
Aveillant will exploit a new step-change in the development of radar technology in the form of its proprietary 3D holographic radar. The Aveillant solution will recognize the presence and position of even small aircraft in the vicinity of the largest wind turbines, providing a level of accuracy that will assure safe separation of aircraft and turbine in the most demanding airspace, says the company. This capability was recognized in 2009 when successful trials of a small scale system for the MoD led to sponsorship for a proposal to the DECC’s Aviation Advisory panel. Consequently, it was the leading radar in-fill solution selected by the UK Government’s Aviation Management Board in 2010, and received offers of financial support from the Wind Industry.
This first part of a multi-million dollar investment is being funded through a consortium of Cambridge Consultants, venture capitalist DFJ Esprit, and the Wind Industry’s funding body, the Aviation Investment Fund Company Ltd (AIFCL). Founders Gordon Oswald and Craig Webster from Cambridge Consultants are both joining Aveillant.
Cambridge Consultants says it has created more than 20 companies in the past 50 years. Five of them have gone on to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, and several have been sold in multi-million dollar deals. The company has created over a billion dollars worth of value and more than 3,000 jobs through its spin outs, and is seen by many as a founding father of the Cambridge Phenomenon.
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