BERGEN, N.Y. (WROC) — A new research and development facility, unveiled Thursday, will use 3D printing to make wind turbines more efficient. Meteorologist Christine Gregory was there for the announcement and takes a look at what it all means.
The first and largest of its kind in the world, located in Genesee County, will become home to the research of using 3D printing technology to reduce the cost and improve the performance of wind farms. This multifunctional construction robot will be able to print in excess of 10 tons of real concrete per hour and is the first to contain two x-axes on the printer.
GE Renewable Energy Chief of Technology Danielle Merfeld says innovation is the key driver in accelerating the energy transition. She states, “We really have to just rethink the way we make wind turbines and that means rethinking even the basics, which is how you build the tower which is what we’re doing here. We’re rethinking that and innovating a new way to make it lower cost, more sustainable and more local.”
If you already thought wind farms were big, the size of the 3D printer they’re using is about 3 stories high.
By pulling in resources from global companies around the world, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno has hopes just as high that wind energy is the key to a cleaner, more affordable energy system. He states, “…and one that also has infrastructure that benefits Americans both in terms of the infrastructure itself, the energy services and also creates more jobs locally in towns across the county.”
With wind towers set to be as tall as 65 feet, it won’t just be the wind itself that will blow you away.
After building a prototype of one wind turbine tower early next year GE energy hopes to see this out as part of general practice in the manufacturing of wind farms in the next few years .