GE Renewable Energy , COBOD , and LafargeHolcim have announced that they will partner to co-develop wind turbines with optimised 3D-printed concrete bases, reaching heights of up to 200m. The three partners will undertake a multi-year collaboration to develop this, which will increase renewable energy production while lowering the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and optimising construction costs.
The partners will 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.
GE Renewable Energy will provide expertise related to the design, manufacture, and commercialisation of wind turbines; COBOD will focus on the robotics automation and 3D printing; and LafargeHolcim will design the concrete material, its processing and application.
Traditional built-in steel or precast concrete wind towers have typically been limited to a height of under 100m, as the width of the base cannot exceed the 4.5m diameter that can be transported by road without excessive costs. Printing a variable height base directly on-site with 3D-printed concrete technology will enable the construction of towers up to 150-200m tall. Typically, a 5MW turbine at 80m will generate 15.1GWh annually. In comparison, the same turbine at 160m would generate 20.2GWh annually, or more than 33 per cent extra power.