The US Department of Energy (DOE) is betting that a carbon fibre, resin and fibreglass composite lattice construction will significantly lower the weight and cost of towers needed for wind turbine designs above 1.5 MW. The DOE awarded Utah's Pyramatrix Structures Inc a grant of $100,000 to make a prototype tower using lightweight composite materials configured in a lattice geometry, which provides the same strength but is much lighter than steel The firm says a 47 foot long cylinder, 18 inches in diameter and built with Pyramatrix technology can support almost 8000 pounds, but weighs only 23 pounds. A steel cylinder with the same dimensions would weigh 1875 pounds. The ease of transporting and installing a lower weight turbine tower can reduce total tower costs for 5 MW machines by 53%, says Pyramatrix, which will significantly reduce the cost of energy. The lattice structures would have to be sheathed in colder climates and to discourage avian use.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol