LafargeHolcim, GE Renewable Energy, COBOD develop wind turbine towers with 3D-printed concrete bases

LafargeHolcim, GE Renewable Energy, COBOD develop wind turbine towers with 3D-printed concrete bases
18 June 2020

GE Renewable Energy, COBOD and LafargeHolcim announced today that they will partner to co-develop wind turbines with optimised 3D-printed concrete bases, reaching record heights up to 200m. The three partners will undertake a multi-year collaboration to develop this solution, which will increase renewable energy production while lowering the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and optimising construction costs.

The partners will ultimately produce a wind turbine prototype with a printed pedestal, and a production-ready printer and materials range to scale up production. The first prototype, a 10m-high tower pedestal, was successfully printed in October 2019 in Copenhagen. By exploring ways to economically develop taller towers that capture stronger winds, the three partners aim to generate more renewable energy per turbine.

“Concrete 3D printing is a very promising technology for us, as its incredible design flexibility expands the realm of construction possibilities. Being both a user and promoter of clean energy, we are delighted to be putting our material and design expertise to work in this groundbreaking project, enabling cost efficient construction of tall wind turbine towers and accelerating access to renewable energy,” explained Edelio Bermejo, head of R&D for LafargeHolcim.

Traditionally built in steel or precast concrete, wind turbine towers have typically been limited to a height of under 100m meters, as the width of the base cannot exceed the 4.5m diameter that can be transported by road, without excessive additional costs.

Printing a variable-height base directly on-site with 3D-printed concrete technology will enable the construction of towers up to 200m tall. Typically, a 5MW turbine at 80m generates 15.1 GWh annually. In comparison, the same turbine at 160m would generate 20.2GWh, or more than 33 per cent extra power.

Published under Cement News