SBIR Phase I: Protecting Birds and Bats from Wind Turbine Hazards Using Ultraviolet Light Emitting Diodes

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
4 Bud Way, Ste 15, Nashua, NH, 03063-1740
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Donald Ronning
(603) 233-1603
Business Contact:
Donald Ronning
(603) 233-1603
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of a high-brightness ultraviolet light-emitting diode (UVLED) system for inducing an involuntary avoidance response of birds and bats. The purpose of this system is to reduce the mortality rates of birds and bats by deterring them from entering the active rotor zone area of an operating wind turbine and thus minimizing the risk of mortality or injury from direct collision or barotrauma. Many avian and bat species have spectral sensitivity to ultraviolet light and are known to react to signal colors and bright light sources, whereas humans do not have spectral sensitivity to ultraviolet light and would not have an overall awareness to the operation of a UVLED system. Strict regulations for species protection by the Endangered Species Act as well as general bird and bat mortality are guiding the permitting approval process for siting new wind farms (both on land and off-shore) and the operations of existing wind farms. The broader/commercial potential of this project is that it addresses a major problem affecting the permitting of new and existing wind farms. In addition, there are other numerous additional potential applications for the UVLED system. These applications include protecting airports? landing and take-off airspaces from bird strikes; integrating UVLEDs into airplane landing lights to protect against bird strikes; mounting on radio/TV and other towers to minimize bird mortality; mounting on large buildings where bird mortality is known to be high; protecting tar pits and similar hazards from bird mortality; and protecting bridges, rooftops, and similar spaces from the nuisance of bird droppings. Also, bats save farmers about $74 per acre by providing natural pest control. Pest control services provided by insect-eating bats in the U.S. likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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