With blade diameter measuring more than two football fields, GE Renewables’ Haliade-X turbines are already the largest and most powerful in the world, capable of generating as much as 14 MW of energy. The ability to 3D print the turbine’s concrete base on-site, for direct transportation into the final at-sea location, will enable even larger systems to be built and deployed.
This approach is expected to enable the production of much taller wind turbines because turbine producers will not be hindered by transport limitations—today, the width of the base cannot exceed 4.5 meters for transportation reasons, which limits the height of the turbine. By increasing the height, the generation of power per turbine can also be increased substantially: for instance, a 5 MW turbine measuring 80 meters generates about 15.1 GWh a year. The same turbine measuring 160 meters would generate 20.2 GWh per year, an increase of 33%. How that scale is expected to become even greater, with new turbines reaching heights of 260 meters and even more.
Louisa Allen explores additive manufacturing solutions for the energy and oil & gas industries
Innovations brought about by 3D printing have largely focused on industrial applications. We read about how car manufacturers are using this technology to build custom parts and tools more efficiently and at a lower cost. The aeronautics industry is using additive manufacturing to create lightweight components to help boost fuel economy. 3D printing has also enabled the sector to streamline the supply chain as well as product parts on-demand. Both of these actions help reduce lead times and lower operations costs.
There has also been quite a buzz about 3D printing and its impact on the healthcare industry, particularly its influence on patient-centered medical care. But the applications of this revolutionary technology does not limit itself to these fields. Case in point, the energy, oil, and gas industries are now looking to adopt additive manufacturing to help them harness our natural resources. Below are just a few of the solutions that are now being implemented by big companies such as Chevron and Shell Global.
Using additive manufacturing to make parts big and small could help utilities save time and money.
It’s a question that manufacturers face constantly: What’s the best way to produce the most items with the least amount of money, while maintaining the highest possible quality?
Over the past few decades, 3D printing has presented a potential solution to that problem, but only recently has the technology seen widespread development. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing has so far been most useful for companies developing and testing new products, allowing them to make relatively low-cost prototypes.
Seeing the potential benefits, organizations around the globe are investing more in the technology. A study from Sculpteo found that in 2018, companies increased their investments in 3D printing by 70 percent, up from just 47 percent in 2017.
Investors, both public and private, will be able to buy tokens through an initial coin offering (ICO) that represent 1W of the solar power project.
3D printing or “additive manufacturing” is the process of joining materials to make objects from three-dimensional model data, usually layer upon layer.
In 2017 the 3D printing industry was worth $7bn, up from $3bn in 2013 and by 2025 it is expected to account for over $20bn all over the world.
Additive manufacturing (AM) has found its application in different sectors of the power industry, both in building prototypes and in mainstream production leading to process simplification and operational efficiency.
AM can produce components with complex geometries, consume fewer raw-materials, produce less waste, have reduced energy consumption and decreased time-to-market.