On-site 3D Concrete Printing for Next-Generation Low-Cost Wind Plants

Advancing on-site 3D concrete printed turbine towers to enable tall wind development.

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Tech Partner

RCAM Technologies

Recipient

Irvine, CA

Recipient Location

37th

Senate District

74th

Assembly District

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$367,942

Amount Spent

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Active

Project Status

Projects Updates/The Results

The kick-off meeting was conducted in June 2020. The team conducted some preliminary activities, such as reviewing 3D concrete printing (3DCP) materials and techniques for tower design, developing conceptual design drawings for a 3DCP segmented tower with various strategies for reinforcement, and initiating work on a finite element analysis.

The Issue

The size of wind turbine towers is constrained by transportation size and weight, making conventional towers prohibitively expensive for larger next-generation turbines in California. Overhead traffic signals, road width, and weight regulations limit conventional steel tubular towers to sub-optimal diameters of 4.3 meters. The tallest wind turbine towers installed in California is is currently limited to 100 meters. The reinforced additive manufacturing technology has the potential to reduce capital costs for land-based tall towers by reducing installation time and logistics challenges, and increasing safety compared with conventional concrete construction methods.

Project Innovation

This agreement aims to manufacture, demonstrate, and test wind tower sections and offshore wind energy components using an onsite three-dimensional concrete printed (3DCP) manufacturing process and design. The advancement in scientific knowledge in 3DCP materials, manufacturing methods and large-scale structural performance will facilitate the deployment of large land-based and offshore wind technologies that use 3DCP components to increase the cost-competitiveness of the wind energy generation needed to meet California's statutory energy goals.

Project Benefits

Reinforced concrete additive manufacturing (RCAM)'s 3D printed (3DCP) towers will reduce tower capital costs by up to approximately 50% compared to 140-m steel tower for a 7.5-MW next generation turbine. RCAM is faster and safer than conventional concrete construction methods, while providing new transformative design possibilities that reduce cost and energy consumed by using less concrete than conventional construction and by eliminating concrete forms. The highly mobile 3DCP equipment and California's existing concrete supply chain can cost-effectively produce towers and foundations on-site in manufacturing lots of any size needed for California wind plants. The scope includes design, fabrication, pilot testing and demonstration of tower sections at up to 1:2 scale in laboratory and outdoor environments.

Consumer Appeal

Consumer Appeal

The use of additive 3D manufacturing approaches facilitate the development of taller wind turbines that significantly reduce the number of wind turbines deployed on a site for a given wind plant capacity, resulting in more aesthe

Lower Costs

Lower Costs

This additive concrete 3D manufacturing technology targets are to manufacture a hybrid 140-m wind turbine tower on-site, at half the cost of conventional steel 140-m towers for a 7.5 MW next generation turbine.

Economic Development

Economic Development

Increasing the tower height from 80 m to 140 m increases the potential wind capacity in California, which may be suitable for development more than 10 times (from 6 GW to 67 GW), representing about $60 billion of potential wind p

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental & Public Health

Wind deployments avoid substantial emissions of greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuel generated electricity. Wind generated electricity emits up to 120 times less carbon dioxide (CO2e) than natural gas generated electricity an

Greater Reliability

Greater Reliability

As California moves toward a zero-carbon electricity mix in 2045, land-based and offshore wind can provide value to the grid by balancing solar generation. A 140-m RCAM tower will increase California land areas with gross capacit

Key Project Members

Project Member

Jason Cotrell

Subrecipients

Rocket

The Regents of the University of California, Irvine

DNV GL USA, Inc. Maritime

DNV GL USA, Inc. Maritime

Rocket

WSP Global

Rocket

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