LafargeHolcim enters 3D printed concrete biz

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 18, 2020

Joins hands with GE, COBOD to tap wind energy at heights of up to 200 metres

GE Renewable Energy, LafargeHolcim and COBOD, a 3D construction printing company, have partnered to co-develop wind turbines with optimised 3D printed concrete bases reaching record heights up to 200 metres.

The three partners will undertake a multi-year collaboration to develop this innovative solution, which will increase renewable energy production while lowering the levelised cost of energy and optimising construction costs, said a release.

The partners will produce ultimately a wind turbine prototype with a printed pedestal, and a production ready printer and materials range to scale up production.

The first prototype, a 10-metre high tower pedestal, was successfully printed last October 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 tailor-made concrete material, its processing and application.

“Concrete 3D printing is a very promising technology for us, as its incredible design flexibility expands the realm of construction possibilities. The project drives cost efficient construction of tall wind turbine towers and accelerating access to renewable energy,” said 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 100 metres, as the width of the base cannot exceed the 4.5-metre 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 150 to 200 metres tall. Typically, a 5 MW turbine at 80 metres generates, yearly, 15.1 GWh. In comparison, the same turbine at 160 metres would generate 20.2 GWh, or over 33 per cent extra power.

Published on June 18, 2020

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