GE has acquired next-generation technology from Wind Tower Systems LLC (WTS) that is expected to enable taller wind turbine towers. The need for taller, cost-efficient towers is becoming an important factor in the wind industry as blade lengths increase, according to GE.
WTS has been working on the development of the space frame tower system technology for use at wind farm sites that require hub heights of 100 meters or more. The space frame tower is a highly engineered and optimized structure that can handle the unique static and dynamic loads generated by wind turbines, according to GE.
WTS also has been developing ways to transport and install these taller wind turbine towers. The space frame technology will use standard flatbed trucks. Hi Jack system technology can eliminate the need for heavy-lift cranes during installation, according to the company.
‘We see great potential in the addition of this technology to our portfolio – not only for our customers, but also for the wind industry as a whole,’ says Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE Power & Water. ‘Taller towers are an essential complement to longer blades. Longer blades capture more energy and, in turn, improve return on investment for wind farm developers.’
Plans are under way to install a prototype of GE's space frame tower system to validate and test its design later this year, with commercial availability targeted for 2012.
SOURCE: GE Power & Water