Australian start-up raises $1.3m for 'stethoscope' for wind turbines | RenewEconomy

Australian start-up raises $1.3m for ‘stethoscope’ for wind turbines

Australian start-up Ping secures $1.3m in seed funding for device that uses sound to identify faults in wind turbines.

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Australian start up Ping has secured backing from a leading venture capital fund to develop its damage detection system that works like a stethoscope for wind turbines.

The South Australian based Ping says it has secured $1.3 million in new seed funding from venture capital investors, including Artesian, that the company will put towards the development of the listening device and progressing its commercialisation.

The Ping Monitor is attached magnetically to wind turbine towers, and actively “listens” to the sounds created within the turbine as it operates. The monitor is able to identify changes in the acoustic sounds of the turbine’s operation, which may indicate damage or other changes to the turbine’s structures.

When an anomaly is detected, maintenance teams are alerted via a dashboard, shortening the time it may take for damage to a turbine to be detected. It’s a potentially valuable service in a global wind turbine market that attracts almost $100 billion in investment annually.

“Our success in this Seed funding round is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and the unwavering support of our investors and global customer network,” Ping CEO Matthew Stead said.

“We’re thrilled to have gathered a strong network of investors who recognise Ping’s early achievements, are confident in our growth potential, and actively support our vision and values, particularly in helping to support the growth of renewables.”

Ping estimates that damage to wind turbine blades already costs the industry as much as $2 billion annually, and there has already been international interest in the Ping Monitor from wind farm operators in the United States, with the company also looking to expand into Asian and European markets.

The Ping Monitor (supplied).

The company has received backing from the South Australian government, a state that already is host to a large number of wind turbines and the government is happy to see the local company grow.

“The Marshall government is backing South Australia’s expanding startup ecosystem through the Research, Commercialisation and Startup Fund, and it’s pleasing to see companies like Ping grow and develop cutting edge technology in our state’s renewable energy sector,” South Australian minister for innovation and skills David Pisoni said.

Artesian investment analyst Alexandra Clunies Ross said that the venture capital firm was excited to work with Ping to develop the technology, as it recognised the huge potential market for wind turbine performance monitoring.

“We are very excited to work with the Ping team,” Clunies Ross said. “Fault detection technology improves the efficiency and adoption of renewable energy. Ping’s device reduces unnecessary maintenance costs and can allow for further growth in renewables.”

Ping expects that the use of the device can be expanded into other industries that use large moving machinery, and will look to deploy the Ping Monitor in the mining and rail freight industries.

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