RCAM Technologies and the University of California, Irvine will develop, demonstrate, and test a reinforced concrete additive manufacturing technology for building low-cost ultra-tall wind turbine towers on site at the wind plant that capture more wind energy from faster winds aloft. Reinforced Concrete Additive Manufacturing (RCAM) eliminates the transportation and logistics constraints by manufacturing structurally efficient large-diameter towers within the wind plant, using lightweight reinforcement methods and low cost regionally available concrete. The proposed manufacturing technology is faster and safer while providing new transformative design possibilities that reduce costs and energy consumption by using less concrete than conventional construction, less labor, and eliminating concrete formwork

The project, funded by the California Energy Commission Grant EPC-17-023, will reduce technological and economic barriers to upgrading, re-powering, and expanding wind power generation in California by enabling cost effective deployment of taller towers built onsite. The project will increase new and re-powered wind capacity in California by reducing the cost of wind generated electricity, and increasing the wind energy captured on taller towers. The new wind energy deployments will generate lower cost clean energy for California ratepayers and increase net jobs constructing and operating California wind plants.

Tall towers and foundations for modern offshore and land-based wind turbines are too large to transport over roads or rail due to their extremely large dimensions. Existing tower manufacturing methods and materials are too expensive and slow to support the next generation of taller and larger turbines. RCAM’s concrete additive manufacturing technology will build wind turbine towers at the installation site that are twice as tall, and cost half that of conventional tower manufacturing technologies.