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.

RCAM Technologies

Recipient

Irvine, CA

Recipient Location

37th

Senate District

74th

Assembly District

beenhere

$2,294,284

Amount Spent

refresh

Active

Project Status

Project Update

The project team continued 3D printing and casting tower segments as part of the construction process of a tower specimen and conducted indoor printing trials to assess the buildability of materials. The team is working on life cycle assessment of wind turbine foundations and is researching incorporating larger-size aggregate into mix designs.

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 Goals

Advance the development of on-site manufacturing technology and 3DCP tall tower (>120m height).
Assess and reduce the environmental lifecycle impacts of 3DCP manufacturing.
Evaluate and expand California's R&D capabilities and workforce potential for in-state manufacturing.

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.

Lower Costs

Affordability

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 may increase the potential wind capacity in California by more than 10 times (from 6 GW to 67 GW).

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

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.

Greater Reliability

Reliability

As California moves toward a zero-carbon electricity mix in 2045, offshore wind can provide value to the grid by balancing solar generation.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Jason Cotrell

Subrecipients

Rocket

University of California, Irvine

Rocket

Verdical Group

Rocket

WSP

Rocket

Fruanhofer Institute

Rocket

Vertico

Rocket

Match Partners

Rocket

RCAM Technologies

Rocket

Contact the Team

*Required