Danish robot 3D construction printer company COBOD, which produces large 3D printers for robot printing of buildings, entered a cooperation with GE and LafargeHolcim in 2019 about the 3D printing of concrete wind turbine towers. The partners 3D printed the first 10-meter tower base in 2019, followed by another in 2020, the details of which are first being released today. The success of this partnership inspired GE to inform the world climate summit leaders about the initiative, which eventually should lead to the creation of extra-tall towers and lower CO2 emissions.
On Friday, April 23, Danielle Merfeld, GE Renewable Energy CTO addressed the Leaders Summit on Climate organized by the White House. The virtual event brought together President Joe Biden and leaders of 16 countries responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions and global gross domestic product (GDP), as well as a select number of civil society leaders and business leaders like Danielle Merfeld of GE.
Merfeld talked about the good work GE is doing to speed up decarbonization around the world. She delivered a presentation showcasing GE’s investments in innovation and some of GE Renewable Energy’s latest technologies and research projects, which include joint programs with the Department of Energy to develop new solutions. Among the solutions mentioned, Merfeld talked about COBOD’s solution with wind turbine foundations 3D-printed from high-performance concrete.
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder and General Manager of COBOD, commented: “We have always believed in the possibilities of our technology and 3D concrete printers in the wind turbine sector, and GE putting it on the table for the world leaders show, that we are not alone with this confidence. We are extremely proud to be the inventors and manufacturers of the technology and printers, which made it possible to produce the first-ever 3D printed concrete wind turbine tower bases for GE in cooperation with LafargeHolcim.”
Back in 2019, the partners revealed the printing of the world’s first 3D printed wind turbine tower, a 10-meter-tall tower. The success of this first trialed the partners to continue the project and in 2020 another tower base was printed and although the height was the same as the first time a significantly larger volume of material was being 3D printed the second time. When the first tower was made, it took 3 weeks to print it, while the whole process was done in just 3 days when COBOD was 3D printing a tower for the second time, despite the significant increase in the material volume.
Jakob Jorgensen, Head of projects & Implementation at COBOD commented: “We had predicted, that the second time we would 3D print a wind turbine tower, our productivity would see a massive improvement, as we also saw this when we in 2019 3D printed a copy of Europe’s first-ever 3D printed building. In 2019 when printing the BOD building a second time, we saw a 20 times improvement. Such multi-times faster printing we also expected this time, simply because so much is learned the first time, that can be improved the second time around. However, that we really could print the second tower in just 3 days for a 10 m concrete structure was even a bit surprising to us, as we also increased the volume of printed material very significantly”.