It may not become the norm, but some wind turbine suppliers are beginning to switch to concrete from steel in the construction of wind turbines, according to a story in this month’s Wind Directions magazine.
The story also says that while steel has become accepted as the ideal material for turbine towers, suppliers are now starting to consider concrete because smaller pre-cast sections are easier to produce, can be transported rapidly, and assembled quicker onsite.
Christian Hinsch, of German renewable development company JUWI, said an extremely high tower will have quite substantial bending movements at its base.
“For steel, that means it will need to have a very large diameter, which is not easy either to manufacture or transport,” said Hinsch, adding bridge height limitations on German roads make it difficult to move large loads around.
“This means that you would have to do the assembling and welding on site, which is not a good idea for steel products. For concrete, on the other hand, you can have smaller sections and transport them much more easily.”
Ramon Lopez, of Spanish manufacturer Inneo Torres, said concrete towers are likely going to become a growing market, both onshore and offshore. “One of the greatest advantages of concrete is its durability – particularly important when you are dealing with such an aggressive environment,” Lopez said.
In addition to the story on concrete turbines, this edition of Wind Directions has a special comprehensive package on EWEA celebrating its 30th anniversary and the achievements of the European wind power sector during the past three decades.