GE Renewable Energy has created a research lab in Bergen, New York, dedicated to employing concrete additive production to design the foundation of its own wind turbine towers. The idea is to build the bottom sections of these towers on-site to save money on transportation and make the process more sustainable. A COBOD concrete 3D printer, capable of producing constructions up to 20 meters tall, is housed in the middle.
The very first 3D printed model from GE, COBOD, and Lafarge was announced in June 2020; the 3 partners had succeeded in constructing a concrete base to raise the wind turbines’ height. Because 3D concrete printing offers major competitive benefits, this elevation was built to generate additional energy while lowering production costs. This time, GE is taking it a step further by establishing an actual 3D printing research and development facility.
The US Department of Energy has agreed to help GE Renewable Energy perform this important research. The printing technology will be optimized by 20 employees, with applications envisaged within the next five years.
“Reaching the Biden administration’s lofty targets of carbon-free power by 2035 as well as a net-zero economy by 2050 will necessitate considerably more wind generating capacity,” Alejandro Moreno, who works as the assistant secretary in charge of the US Department of Energy for renewable energy, noted.
“We’re excited to collaborate with GE Renewable Energy on this cutting-edge 3D printing technology, which has the potential to revolutionize how we use this resource. We can save costs, overcome logistical challenges, and speed progress toward our goals by using American-made higher towers erected on site.”
The concrete 3D printer that would be placed in the Bergen facility would be one-of-a-kind, custom-made to satisfy the requirements of the American behemoth. It may reach heights of 20 meters, allowing wind turbine tower bases to be raised significantly.
“We are incredibly proud to have produced a completely new sort of 3D concrete printer – the biggest of its type in the world — for this top class and state-of-the-art facility,” Henrik Lund-Nielsen, CEO and founder of COBOD, concludes. The printer we gave is unparalleled: not only does it print more than 10 tons of genuine concrete each hour, but it is also the world’s maiden 3D concrete printer with two X-axes. Because of its many activities, the printer is better defined as a versatile construction robot rather than a printer.”