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European project wants to increase wind energy production

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A European project to increase efficiency in wind energy production, led by the University of Coimbra, is developing towers to install turbines ten times more powerful than the current ones, tripling its energy production.

Higher and more resilient towers are needed to increase energy production, but this “major obstacle to the evolution of wind energy” may soon be overcome by technology being developed by a European consortium, today announced the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC).

“The problem with tubular steel construction is that this increase in height implies a larger diameter of the pipe, which goes beyond the limits allowed for transport on public roads”, explains the FCTUC, stressing that, on the other hand, “the cost of installation increases exponentially due to the need to use larger cranes”.

But the SHOWTIME project, developed by a European consortium led by Carlos Rebelo, a professor, and researcher in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Faculty, is expected to allow “this great obstacle to the evolution of wind energy” to have “the days counted”, says the FCTUC.

SHOWTIME, the acronym for Steel Hybrid Onshore Wind Towers Installed with Minimum Effort, was “made over the last three years in partnership with several European research institutions and steel construction companies,” with funding of around two million euros of the European Commission through the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) program.

The proposal consists, as the title of the project suggests, of an efficient installation system based on a lattice structure.

The advantages of the lattice towers are several, adds the specialist in structural engineering, mainly “simple design and modeling, good dynamic behavior (ideal for wind turbines), reduction of manufacturing costs and transport savings, since they are easier and more lightweight to transport when compared to current tubular structures “.

With this technology, in the near future it will be possible to have much higher onshore wind towers – the solution developed is directed to towers with 220 meters -, making possible the installation of turbines with greater power, admits the FCTUC.

The current metallic towers do not go beyond the 100 to 120 meters of height.

The team of experts is now in contact with the wind industry to test full-scale technology.

The SHOWTIME project was attended by Lulea University of Technology (Sweden), Technical University of Aachen (Germany), University of Birmingham (United Kingdom), Steel Construction Institute (UK) and SIDENOR (Spain), Martifer ) and Friedberg (Germany).

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