Start GE develops 3D printer capable of printing concrete components for the construction of wind energy towers

GE develops 3D printer capable of printing concrete components for the construction of wind energy towers

April 27, 2022 8:21 pm to 20:21
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Image credits: GE Renewable Energy.




Company works on a 3D printer that has the ability to print concrete components for the construction of wind towers

THE GE is investing heavily in a project that can significantly increase the efficiency of the wind energy production. Recently, the company launched a research facility that develops the printing of wind towers.  

Designers hope that printing these bases will help reduce costs, as well as make it easier to install taller and more efficient wind towers. efficient.  

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GE invests in new technologies for the wind sector 

Currently, the construction of wind towers requires a large investment in logistics. Builders transport the prefabricated pipes and weld them on site. Because of this, the success of the GE project can solve the bottlenecks that limit the size of wind farms

GE Renewable Energy has released a statement explaining a little about 3D printing. According to the company, the research will “allow the GE 3D print the underside of wind turbine towers.”. In addition, GE highlighted that “it is important to continually improve the ways we design, manufacture, transport and build the major components of modern wind farms''. 

How the 3D printer works 

GE has partnered with Holcim and Cobod, a company specializing in 3D printing. The tests are taking place in New York, where the company has a 3D printer the size of a building of three floors. 

The printer consists of long trusses and beams connected at right angles. Motors are connected to the beams, which move the print nozzle in three directions. The printer is the largest of its kind in the world. Proof of this is that it is capable of printing concrete structures up to 20 meters high.  

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GE 3D printer. Image credits: GE

The large investment in the sector proves the importance of reducing the cost of producing wind energy towers. With the need to build larger and larger wind towers, GE's investment appears to be another great hit by the global energy giant. 

GE 3D printer. Source: GE

Advantages of 3D printer 

As the 3D-printed concrete base can be easily changed in height, the designers point out that the design can be even more optimized for the local terrain. "When you think of very large wind farms where the terrain and wind change, we are limited in how we can vary the height of the turbine to maximize the site layout.” highlights Christopher Kenny, Senior Engineering Manager. 

Believing in the potential of the project, the US Department of Energy is funding the project with 5 million dollars. "We appreciate the support of the US Department of Energy for the research we are doing here. We are confident that this will help make the wind farms of tomorrow even more efficient, economical and environmentally responsible.”, added Kenny. 

Growth of wind energy in Brazil 

2021 was an excellent year for the wind industry in Brazil. The country set a record for expanding its wind energy production capacity last year. With that, wind energy already represents 11% of our energy matrix. A report released by the Global Wind Energy Council highlighted a strong growth in wind energy in Brazil. In the last decade alone, the country has jumped from 1 gigawatt to 21 gigawatts in 2021.




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