If you’ve ever flown a kite, you know that the higher it goes, the better it performs.
The same basic principal applies to wind turbines: higher is better. However, this can’t be achieved without overcoming certain obstacles.
To maximize return on investment, the design of wind turbines has led to larger blades and taller structures, which makes the design and strength of the tower and base paramount. Flexibility becomes a key factor, as does the natural frequency of the tower and the ability of the foundations to sustain the environmental stresses that come hand-in-hand with the increased wind power.
One solution has been the advent of hybrid precast concrete/steel towers. Precast foundations provide a low lifecycle cost, high strength and durability, ease of erection, reduced maintenance and simplified transportation. One example is the Atlast CTB base, created by NPCA member Tindall Corp.
“The larger footprint and lower foundation pressure characteristic of the wide Atalast CTB Tower Base does away with the massive, costly foundations needed by narrow-diameter base sections,” according to a release from Tindall.
The result is a wind turbine that can rise higher, use larger blades and capture more wind energy. In addition, the manufacturing of precast bases uses fewer resources and materials that are often locally sourced.