Published on February 16th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill30
New Oregon Startup Could Cut Wind Farm Concrete Use By 75%
February 16th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill
A startup out of Oregon is developing a new wind turbine foundation that could cut concrete use by 75%.
According to research organization Oregon BEST, RUTE Foundation Systems and a research team at Portland State University are developing, and hope to commercialize, new technology which would reduce concrete use in wind turbine construction by up to 75% — which in turn reduces CO2 emissions, decreases wind farm construction time, and lowers the overall cost of wind energy development. Oregon BEST is providing early-stage investment support to the project which could keep millions of pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Currently, each wind turbine tower that is erected requires a solid concrete foundation, nine feet thick, 60 feet in diameter, and requiring 30 to 40 truckloads of concrete to pour the approximate 300 cubic yards of concrete — concrete which is never removed from its location, even after a tower is decommissioned.
“We’ve developed a manufactured assembly of anchored grade beams that saves a lot of concrete, transportation costs, construction time and carbon dioxide,” said Doug Krause, founder of RUTE Foundation Systems. “Using this footing saves wind farm developers time and money, is more environmentally friendly, and reduces the cost of bringing renewable energy to the world.”
“Our foundation system is delivered fully hardened, so there is very little risk as to if it will be installed, cured and ready when the turbine is delivered to the site,” Krause added.
Much like a Douglas fir tree, which maintains the structural integrity of its massive trunk by a strong root system, the RUTE Foundation Systems technology relies on anchored grade beams to support the overall structure, saving massive amounts of concrete from being used and, therefore, saving as much as six million pounds of CO2 emissions from a single wind farm.
Currently, the Columbia Gorge Training Facility Demonstration Project is being constructed with a RUTE foundation and a 2.3 MW turbine. According to RUTE, “this project is a first-of-its-kind energy education facility founded on job creation, high school level education, and career advancement.” The Demonstration Project will not only aim to teach, but will serve to demonstrate and validate RUTE’s technology.