Floating LiDAR buoy

For developers, competition is increasing as the search widens for cleaner, renewable energy resources offshore. Collecting reliable data that supports a ‘bankable investment’ narrative is critical.

We took traditional LiDAR technology and integrated it into a floating buoy with reliable, renewable power, data storage and satellite communication capabilities. 

Applying deep expertise of offshore measurement, our design and development process focussed on creating a reliable design to maximise data accuracy and return, while making the process of information gathering easier and more cost-effective for our clients.

RPS’ floating LIDAR is environmentally friendly. Our mooring design minimises damage to the seabed and marine life entanglement risk. The buoy is powered by solar and wind energy, helping meet the stringent environmental consenting conditions often associated with renewable wind farm projects.

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It’s robust too – when two buoys deployed in 220m of water off South Korea took a direct hit from Typhoon Maysak in September 2020 (estimated to be an extreme, 50-year return period, storm event), our buoys continued to transmit data. We now have a detailed data set that will inform critical design elements for our clients.

Related read: discover more about Research & Development for renewables at RPS

Achieving wind measurement success offshore

Traditional LiDAR is used extensively for mapping the spatial characteristics of built and natural features on land. However, to ensure the commercial viability of an offshore wind farm, our clients need reliable resource data to support their project feasibility assessment. Floating LiDAR technology is the future in terms of collecting trusted resource data to support investment decisions.

Greg Bush

Let’s hear it for the buoys: why RPS floating LiDAR is a long-running success

RPS’ floating LiDAR buoys offer world-leading measurement technology. Their reliability means that our clients can expect successful acquisition of high value continuous data, delivered on time.

The buoys’ success is down to excellent build quality, our team’s decades of metocean experience and their advanced design, including remote intervention capabilities.

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Level 2 Certification

The Carbon Trust roadmap outlines a strategy to ensure the commercial reliability and acceptability of floating LiDAR data technology. To this end, they have designed a robust certification process. In 2019, our floating LiDAR technology achieved Level 2 certification, which qualifies the RPS Lidar 4.5 buoy type to collect bankable wind resource data for clients wishing to develop offshore wind farms.

Our LiDAR buoys are now celebrating a big milestone, having collected six years of data without dropping a single 10-minute transmission. We are headed towards Level 3 certification, expected in the next 12 months.

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Making complex easy - the RPS Floating LiDAR buoy

Traditional LiDAR technology in a buoy – with power, data storage and satellite communication capabilities. 

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Recent deployments - key markets

RPS’ floating LiDAR buoys provide highly accurate data to inform offshore wind farm development, for activities such as site selection, yield optimisation, array engineering and workplace safety. They have so far been deployed in the US, the UK, Australia and most recently, South Korea.

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The power system of our buoy is designed to support high or low latitude deployment, except for regions where sea ice is prevalent. The buoy and mooring system are tailored for each deployment and for the water depth and extreme environmental conditions expected, including typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones. The buoy can be deployed in water depths ranging from 10m to full ocean depth.

Read some of our more recent case studies

Equinor and RPS launch Floating LiDAR buoys, South Korea

Equinor is planning to develop the floating offshore wind project Firefly. RPS was engaged to deliver two Floating LiDAR buoys to collect the data that will determine future investment decisions. A feasibility study into the viability of wind resource will be conducted over the next 12 months. 

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Supporting Equinor off the U.S. Atlantic coast

Combining world-leading floating LiDAR measurement technology with advanced metocean data analysis and modelling capability, our team is monitoring a range of open ocean environmental variables including waves, wind speed, turbulence and currents in near real time. The study will provide high-accuracy data inputs to inform offshore wind farm site selection, yield optimisation, array engineering, workplace safety and more.  

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Delivering a metocean survey programme for the Beacon Wind Energy Area, U.S.

RPS have been delivering oceanographic data for Equinor across the New York Wind Energy Area to gain an understanding of the environmental conditions likely to occur at the site. Equinor has identified and secured a second lease area for potential development in Massachusetts – RPS will now also deliver wind, wave and current monitoring with real-time data transmission for this 24-month measurement programme.

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RPS Floating LiDAR buoy - key features

  • Accurate, reliable, readily available data

    10-minute averaged wind data is transmitted near real-time and raw data is transmitted daily. The buoy features a ZX 300M LiDAR sensor, whose reliability has been proven by multiple deployments across the globe.

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    Metocean Real Time Systems
  • Quality data assured

    LiDAR status is monitored through real-time sensor monitoring with automated data quality control and regular manual quality assurance.

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    Metocean Forecasting
  • Uses renewable power

    Solar panels and micro-turbines harness energy to recharge internal batteries – helping meet the stringent environmental consenting conditions often associated with renewable wind farm projects.

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  • Special mooring design

    Enables accurate wave measurement. Ensures buoy doesn't pull through wave crests in storm conditions. Reduces risk of entanglement for marine life.

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    Metocean Ocean Management
  • Redundancy features

    Two independent power systems – can run for 12 days without charging from sun or wind. Redundant satellite, WiFi and 4G communication devices to suit any communication requirement.

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Outstanding safety credentials

In 2019, RPS received the Safe Way Achiever Platinum Award with the Industrial Foundation for Accident Prevention (IFAP) which recognises best practice in the implementation and continuous improvement of our HSSEQ management system.

Stand out achievements

  • ‘Donesafe’ – the implementation of our online safety management system platform
  • Our subcontractor management programme
  • Our monthly HSSEQ bulletins
  • Our HSE information and statistics dashboards
  • Our “R U okay day” events – recognising the importance of mental health in the workplace
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Our team

RPS has over 30 years’ experience building and operating metocean buoys. Our track record of collecting, analysing, interpreting and applying metocean data goes back more than 35 years.

Please feel free to get in touch with our team, anytime. And if you'd like a copy of the RPS Floating LiDAR buoy tech specs, please complete the form below.

Murray Burling

Murray Burling

Managing Director - Energy, Australia Asia Pacific +61 8 9211 1111 EMAIL
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Perth - West Perth | Australia

Keith Kurrus

General Manager MetOcean - NAm +1 281 495 0883 EMAIL
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Houston - Parkway West | US
Anthony Gaffney - MetOcean Director

Anthony Gaffney

MetOcean Director - UK/EAME +44 1235 863 206 EMAIL
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Abingdon | UK


More questions? Read our Floating LiDAR FAQ sheet. 

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