It’s a good time for GE Renewable Energy that has just opened a new 3D printing facility that aims to advance research on how to 3D print the concrete base of towers used in wind turbines.
The $15 billion business which combines one of the broadest portfolios in the renewable energy industry ambitions to leverage concrete 3D printing for the fabrication of the bottom portion of the wind turbine towers on-site at wind farms, lowering transportation costs and creating additional employment opportunities at the wind farms where the technology will be used.
Conducted in the Bergen facility, the research is supported in part by a grant from the US Department of Energy.
“Reaching the Biden administration’s ambitious goals of carbon free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 will require vastly more wind energy capacity. We’re proud to partner with GE Renewable Energy on this innovative 3D printing technology which has the potential to be a game changer in how we harness this resource,” said U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno. “With American-made taller towers assembled on site we can cut costs, overcome logistical hurdles, and accelerate progress toward our goals.”
Alongside GE Renewable Energy, its long-standing partners COBOD and LafargeHolcim were present to celebrate the inauguration and recall they all share the same vision when it comes to renewable energy. Remember? It’s been two years that the three partners decided to join forces for the development of wind turbines with optimized 3D printed concrete bases.
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder & General Manager, COBOD, said, “We are extremely proud to have delivered a completely new type of 3D concrete printer — the largest of its kind in the world — for this world class and state of the art facility. The printer we have delivered is second to none: not only can it print in excess of 10 tons of real concrete per hour, but in addition, it is the first 3D concrete printer in the world with two X-axes on the printer. With the multiple functions of the printer, the printer can better be described as a multifunctional construction robot than a printer.”
A number of GE Renewable Energy’s key local partners as well as Enel Green Power, a customer interested in potential applications of the technology, also attended the event and offered comments on how it can add value for the local community and the renewable energy industry.
Delio Bermejo, Head of Global R&D, Innovation and IP at HOLCIM, said, “Holcim has a key role to play in accelerating the transition towards clean, renewable energy. We have been studying 3D printing in concrete for nearly a decade and the potential of this technology just keeps expanding. Projects that would have been impossible yesterday are now a reality. We are particularly proud to be part of this ambitious project with GE and Cobod where we can propose the right mixture of ink to build more efficient wind turbines, directly on site. We are convinced this innovation will grow very quickly in the upcoming years and help us all significantly in our net zero journey.“
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