In June 2020 we finally came out with the news. COBOD will together with GE Renewable Energy and Holcim co-develop optimized 3D printed concrete bases for wind turbines. The partners will undertake a multi-year collaboration to develop this innovative solution. It will increase renewable energy production while lowering the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) and optimizing construction costs. The project will produce a wind turbine prototype with a printed pedestal, and a production ready printer and materials range to scale up production. A 10-meter high tower pedestal prototype 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.
Since the base is transported by road it can not exceed 4.5 meters. That limits the height of the turbine towers to under 100 meters. Printing a height base directly on-site with 3D-printed concrete technology will enable the construction of towers up to 150 to 200 meters tall. 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.
Our collaboration aims to accelerate the access and use of renewable energy worldwide. GE Renewable Energy will provide expertise related to the design, manufacture and commercialization of wind turbines, COBOD will focus on the robotics automation and 3D printing and Holcim will design the tailor-made concrete material, its processing and application.