Wind turbine towers produced on demand

COBOD is a danish company focusing on automation in the construction industry by designing robotic 3D construction printers and automated processes for the building site. In 2017 COBOD 3D printed the first building in Europe – The BOD (Building On Demand) –  demonstrating that it was possible to 3D print a building according to European building codes.

The company has been investigating the construction of onshore tall concrete wind turbine towers, by means of 3D concrete printing (3DCP) with reinforced ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC). Indeed, 3D printing of towers – or pedestals for the towers – is relevant since the tower production cost increases exponentially with the tower size. As an example, the cost of going from i.e. 100 to 120 meters generally means that the production cost doubles. Further, 3D printing removes the high transportation cost of elements as well as the well-known highly restricting logistics constraints, which makes the use of towers with a base diameter greater than 4.5 meters virtually impossible unless (manually) cast at the site. This is both a very slow and costly process since the installation sites are typically at remote locations.

COBOD’s project focuses on providing the necessary and fundamental proof that 3D printing can be used to manufacture tall wind turbine towers and that this process is economically and technically feasible, receiving a principle approval from a third-party verifier. The result will be a 10-meter-tall pilot tower to prove the feasibility of the 3D printed UHPC with reinforcement.

Thanks to a fruitful and successful collaboration between COBOD and 1st Mile, the project has received funding for the next three years from The Danish Energy Agency’s (Energistyrelsen) Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).