IoT network piggybacking on wind turbines
When the Port of Moerdijk had a large wind farm installed at the Southern Netherlands municipality in 2020, operated by Vattenfall, one of the European leaders in green energy, officials realised the turbine towers could serve an additional purpose: hosting an IoT network that provides key sensor data to the bustling port 120m below. Kerlink was selected to provide the gateways for the LoRaWAN project.
While the 27mW wind farm supplies clean energy to more than 27,000 households in the area, Kerlink Wirnet iStation LoRaWAN gateways receive sensor data and information in a radius of +/- 25km, or 2,000 km2, and securely transfer it to users in the energy-efficient IoT network. In addition to monitoring air quality, including CO2 emissions, sensors are used for monitoring water levels and open or closed bridges and gates around the port, which helps traffic move efficiently and reduces emissions.
In addition, the industrial-grade IoT network will be available near the port for shipping, rail and other companies, as well as municipalities, government agencies and individuals, at low cost.
Kerlink’s wind-powered outdoor gateways will run entirely on green electricity. Remy de Jong Sr., from SkyLab BV, which specialises in installing IoT gateways, said the advantage of the height is that the signal is stronger and reaches further.
“With these great results, we expect to expand the public Internet of Things into the wind industry, for example for on- and off-shore wind turbines. We usually do that on high buildings and towers,” he added. “When we entered into talks with Port of Moerdijk, we got the idea during a brainstorm of using the wind-farm towers. Installing a gateway on a windmill – we have never done that before in the Netherlands, and to my knowledge, it hasn’t been done this way anywhere in the world."
The project is Kerlink’s second major deployment in the Netherlands. In 2019, it was part of a joint deployment of a LoRaWAN private IoT network at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, one of the largest international airports in Europe.
“Kerlink Wirnet iStation IoT gateways are operating 100m above the water in what will be an exposed and challenging environment, but this product has repeatedly proven its robust performance and reliability,” said Aurélien Seugnet, Kerlink’s Business Developer. “Being wind powered also is a key benefit, because they will be out of reach for battery replacements.”