New Facility Focuses on Wind Turbine Tower Base 3D Printing

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GE Renewable Energy has inaugurated a new research and development facility that will conduct research on how to 3D print the concrete base of towers used in wind turbines. The research will enable GE to 3D print the bottom portion of the wind turbine towers on-site at wind farms, lowering transportation costs and creating additional employment opportunities at the wind farms where the technology will be used.

“Innovation will continue to be a key driver in accelerating the energy transition,” says Danielle Merfeld, GE Renewable Energy’s chief technology officer. “It is particularly important to continuously improve the ways we design, manufacture, transport, and construct the large components of modern wind farms. We appreciate the support of the U.S. Department of Energy for the research we are doing here and are confident it will help make the wind farms of tomorrow even more efficient, economical, and environmentally responsible.”

The research being conducted in the Bergen facility is supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. A team of 20 people will continue to work on optimizing the 3D printing technology with first applications in the field anticipated within the next five years.

“Reaching the Biden administration’s ambitious goals of carbon free electricity by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 will require vastly more wind energy capacity,” states U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno. “We’re proud to partner with GE Renewable Energy on this innovative 3D printing technology which has the potential to be a game changer in how we harness this resource. With American-made taller towers assembled on site we can cut costs, overcome logistical hurdles, and accelerate progress toward our goals.”

“At Optimation we have a focus on made in America and we also believe strongly in renewable energy,” comments Bill Pollock, PE, director of Rochester operations at Optimation, an organization providing many of the employees working at the GE research center. “Working with GE on this project gives us an opportunity to pursue both of those goals. We are happy to be able to contribute to development of a new technology, to help reduce the cost of wind power and at the same time provide technically challenging jobs in western New York.”

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