Light, sun, and wind are abundant energy sources that people always desire to conquer to serve life. Let's discover the top 4 breakthrough technologies in April to effectively exploit and store these energy sources in modern life, towards a sustainable future.
GE Renewable Energy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate a new research and development facility that will conduct research on how to 3D print the concrete base of towers used in wind turbines.
To make a wind turbine tower today, builders bring prefabricated steel tubes to the location on flatbed trucks and weld them together on-site. But as anyone who tried to move a piece of furniture into a New York City walk-up apartment will know, there are limits that can’t be breached. For turbine towers, that limit is about 14 feet in diameter. Make them any larger and they become too wide to fit on many roads. (Wind blades face a similar issue with length. But GE found an ingenious way to split the blades into two pieces and assemble them at the wind farm).
The way is 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. By 3D-printing the base of the tower from concrete on location, wind farm builders will be able to make it wider, and strong enough to support a taller and more powerful turbine. The method could also unlock new locations for wind generation, lower transportation costs, and create additional employment opportunities at the wind farms where the technology will be used.