- Published: 19 September 2014 19 September 2014
The US Energy Department has announced US$ 2 million for two organisations that will advance technologies to harness stronger winds available at higher heights, potentially increasing the amount of clean, renewable electricity the nation produces.
Keystone Towers of Boston, Massachusetts will implement an on-site spiral welding system that will enable turbine towers to be produced directly at or near the installation site, freeing projects of transportation constraints that often limit turbine height. Adapted from an in-field welding process used by the pipe manufacturing industry, Keystone’s spiral welding technique can be scaled up to produce large diameter steel towers that they report will be 40 percent lighter than standard turbine towers, which could lower the cost of energy by 10 percent. Iowa State University will develop a hexagonal-shaped tower that combines high-strength concrete with pre-stressed steel reinforcements to assemble individual tower modules and wall segments that can be easily transported and joined together on-site. Due to the modular design, thicker towers capable of supporting turbines at increased heights can be produced at a reduced cost.