3D-printing for clean energy

29 September 2020

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

 
3D printing concrete for record high wind turbines

GE Renewable Energy, COBOD and LafargeHolcim will undertake a multi-year collaboration to develop an innovative solution; wind turbines with optimized 3D printed concrete bases, reaching record heights up to 200 meters. These will increase renewable energy production while optimizing construction costs. Typically, a 5 MW turbine at 80 meters generates, yearly, 15.1 GWh. In comparison, the same turbine at 160 meters would generate 20.2 GWh, or more than 33% extra power. The first prototype, a 10-meter high tower pedestal, was successfully printed in October 2019 in Copenhagen.

Exploring new ways in sustainable construction

By exploring ways to economically develop taller towers that capture stronger winds, the three partners aim to generate more renewable energy per turbine. “We are extremely proud to be working with world-class companies like GE Renewable Energy and LafargeHolcim. With our groundbreaking 3D printing technology combined with the competence and resources of our partners, we are convinced that this disruptive move within the wind turbines industry will help drive lower costs and faster execution times, to benefit customers and lower the CO2 footprint from the production of energy.” Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder of COBOD International A/S