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article imageTaller wind turbine bases using concrete 3-D printing technology

By Karen Graham     Jun 18, 2020 in Technology
GE Renewable Energy, COBOD, and LafargeHolcim have announced a three-way partnership to co-develop 3D printed, “record-tall” wind turbine towers. The partnership should boost global renewable energy production and lower the cost of energy.
Using GE Renrewable's extensive resources, along with COBOD’s concrete printing technology and LafargeHolcim’s leading construction materials, the three-way partnership plans to use 3D printing and high-performance concrete to manufacture wind turbine bases on-site that could add 80 meters or more to the turbines’ height.
So how tall would the new turbine's go in height? The Space Needle in Seattle, Washington is 605 feet (184 meters) high. GE says its new onshore turbines could reach up to 200 meters tall, or 656 feet tall. Not only would the new turbine bases be taller than the Space Needle, but they will be double the average height for wind turbines in the US today, according to The Verge.
Space aficionados may understand a comparison better if we line up one of the new GE turbines next to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket is 229.6 feet (70 meters) in height. The new turbine base could easily reach up to 200 meters, or almost three times the height of a Falcon 9 rocket. Impressive?
The Seattle Space Needle illuminated at night is a grand sight.
The Seattle Space Needle illuminated at night is a grand sight.
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LafargeHolcim
LafargeHolcim, headquartered in Switzerland, LafargeHolcim is a global leader in building materials and solutions, with over 70,000 employees in around 70 countries. The company focuses on four business segments: Cement, Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete, and Solutions & Products.
LafargeHolcim will undertake to design the tailor-made concrete material, its processing, and application for constructing the new wind turbine bases.
Edelio Bermejo, Head of R&D at LafargeHolcim, states: “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.”
At the wind farm site  European companies COBOD and LafargeHolcim plan to use 3D-printing and high-p...
At the wind farm site, European companies COBOD and LafargeHolcim plan to use 3D-printing and high-performance concrete to manufacture wind turbine bases that could add as much as 80 meters — and possibly more — to the turbines’ height.
GE Renewable Energy/LafargeHolcim/COBOD.
COBOD 3-D Printing
The Danish company, COBOD International A/S, is one of the leading suppliers of 3D construction printers globally. It was founded by Danish business executive and serial-entrepreneur, Henrik Lund-Nielsen. The company is a leading supplier of 3D construction printers globally.
COBOD came up with a 3D printer that could be trucked to the future wind farm. Once there, the system will suspend a printhead from an elevated track like a magic marker with a tip the size of a gallon milk jug. The tip releases the concrete through a print nozzle as it follows its programmed course.
“It’s an automated construction factory on wheels that we have, and we bring it to the site,“ says Henrik Lund-Nielsen, COBOD’s founder and general manager.
As the printer traces the tower’s perimeter  the structure rises like icing on an invisible cake b...
As the printer traces the tower’s perimeter, the structure rises like icing on an invisible cake being, layer upon layer.
GE Renewable Energy/LafargeHolcim/COBOD.
“It’s an international collaboration that is really aiming to change the world for the better with renewable energy, as well as with more sustainable technologies to make those products,” says Matteo Bellucci, advanced manufacturing technology leader for GE Renewable Energy.
The partners say their approach helps lower labor costs of such tall turbines because the robotic 3D printer needs as few as two people to operate. They plan to break ground on the first production model in 2023. Says Bermejo. “This is the first step of something great.”
More about Technology, 3D printing, wind turbine bases, General electric, COBOD
 
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