Partnership to develop wind turbines with 3D printed bases

By Dan Weatherley
GE Renewable Energy, COBOD and LafargeHolcim team up to help develop record-high 200-metre high wind turbines...

GE Renewable Energy, COBOD and LafargeHolcim team up to help develop record-high 200-metre high wind turbines.

A multi-year collaboration has been created amongst the companies in order to develop innovative solutions. The goal surrounding the partnership is to boost renewable energy production whilst lowering the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and optimizing construction costs at the same time.

In addition to the above, the partnership aims to explore the most economical ways of capturing more wind energy by using the best designs and processes to produce taller wind turbines.

At the initial stage, the partners will work together to produce a wind turbine prototype in addition to a production-ready printer and materials range in order to scale up production.

A 10-meter high tower pedestal prototype was printed in Copenhagen during October 2019.

The industry-leading expertise of each partner will combine in order to accelerate the access and use of renewable energy worldwide. GE Renewable Energy is set to focus on the design, manufacture and commercialization side of the wind turbine. 

COBOD, which specialises in robotics, will focus on automation and 3D printing whereas LafargeHolcim will design the tailor-made concrete material, its processing and application. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis .

LafargeHolcim’s Head of R&D, Edelio Bermejo, said: "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.”

Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder of COBOD International A/S added: "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."

"3D printing is in GE's DNA and we believe that Large Format Additive Manufacturing will bring disruptive potential to the Wind Industry. Concrete printing has advanced significantly over the last five years and we believe is getting closer to have real application in the industrial world. We are committed to taking full advantage of this technology both from the design flexibility it allows as well as for the logistic simplification it enables on such massive components," said Matteo Bellucci, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Leader for GE Renewable Energy.

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