Clean Power

Published on February 16th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill


New Oregon Startup Could Cut Wind Farm Concrete Use By 75%

February 16th, 2016 by  

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.

RUTE-1Currently, 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.

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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

  • Jenny Sommer

    I know you’ve been waiting for me…
    Wouldn’t need 5% of that concrete without those heavy towers and long blades…

    • jeffhre

      Or the blades could be even longer if they simply floated without a tower or foundation.

      • Jenny Sommer

        It also makes sense that the “blades” would just cover the effective area where they are moving fast as a whole.
        The inner cycle of the blades is a a great waste of material.

        • jeffhre


          • Jenny Sommer

            What hubs? Generator stays on the ground.

          • jeffhre

            What is the thing for which there is a callout in the very center of the picture, but with no name or number?

          • Jenny Sommer

            Right… The thing in the middle and 3/4th of the blades inner length are mostly wasted material.
            Away with that.

  • jeffhre

    “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”

    Sounds truly epic when presented in such magnificent prose with the images of Douglas fir trees. Though in truth it’s not much different than the idea behind the foundations for many garage door openings.

  • Waiting to be bribed

    How big will it be for the new 170M turbines?

    • jeffhre

      Big enough to offset the blade and tower area x the force of the wind multiplied over the lever of a 170m tower, and any potential dynamic oscillations.

  • Donald Zenga

    Is the new tower hexagonal in shape instead of being round.

    • Bob_Wallace

      No curved forms means cheaper to form? Just do the calculations so that footprint remains the same. Increase the depth a bit if mass needs to be equalized.

  • Ronald Brakels

    There are different construction techniques for different condtions which vary in the amount of concrete required. Not every wind turbine need to float on a giant foundation of concrete. This is only required where the ground suffers from a strange condition known as deep soil. In other places, rock anchors can reduce the need for concrete.

    • Tim

      Nice point. Looks like 30 feet diameter or slightly less

    • Matt

      Even a anti-wind site I looked at only claim 30-50 feet in diameter and less depth. Since this group is pushing saving on concrete use they pick the largest size they could find. But here is hoping it does turn out to save money, time will tell.

      • Otis11

        That was my first instinct as well… I’ve stood on one of these bases. There’s no way it was 60 feet across. Maybe 30. Maybe.

      • Kevin McKinney

        But with the rapid up-sizing of tower heights…?

      • Steven F

        Anti wind sites are typically biased and will only discuss the largest most expensive foundations. As such sites you never see them talking about hard rock foundations that typically use dramatically less material and cost substantially less.

    • jeffhre

      I dunno, that concrete truck looks pretty tiny next to that hole.

      • Ronald Brakels

        And only people who are at least nine feet tall are allowed to work on wind turbines in Australia to scare the Turk.

      • Roger Lambert

        Very wide-angle lens used which makes the truck look way small.

        • jeffhre

          Looking at the clouds it is a very wide angle lens. Although wide angle lenses make some objects look small – and others very large.

    • Steven F

      On the tops of ridges the there is little to no dirt and solide strong rock is very close to the surface. In that case The dirt is simply scraped away and a steel pins are drilled into the rock and a rather small foundation is then made. You can see pictures of this type of foundation in this link.

      In all cases the size and type of foundation is dependent on the soil and rock conditions as well as the size of the turbine.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Thanks. Those are some interesting pictures. Took a little while to download, but that’s fine. My monthy gigabyte total is now so Iarge I’m not even sure if it’s possible for me to use it all up at the download speeds I have.

  • Roger Lambert

    When you hear that a product “reduces overall costs”, it means it is more expensive than doing it the regular way. And the regular way anchors the tower with a two million pound base.

    So what you got here is a more expensive way of doing things and questions about whether it works as well under all conditions.

    But, using way less concrete is a good thing, and speeding up construction is a good thing, and reducing the CO2 footprint of wind tower construction is a very good thing.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the test site works out.

    I like the RUTE ( = root) moniker 🙂

    • Martin

      Well everybody who comes up with a new way of ding things would like to get paid for their effort.
      And would it not be similar to cured concrete, for example for bridges, in a controlled place as compared to doing it on site with varying weather conditions, that can become expensive at times.

    • Kevin McKinney

      “So what you got here is a more expensive way of doing things…”

      Maybe. My guess is that no-one knows, yet, what the cost will end up being–if the system proves out from a technical point of view, and attracts early adopters.

      I certainly agree with you about all the Good Things involved. Guess we’ll have to hope for the best…

    • Steven F

      “When you hear that a product “reduces overall costs”, it means it is more expensive than doing it the regular way.”

      Not necessarily. Sometime the regular way is simply used because the installation company has used it before and is most familiar with it. Using a new way that actually cost less may involve more planning and preparation that the installation company may not be willing to do.

      Sometimes engineers just do it the regular way because it is the lowest risk path and because it is easiest for him to spec. Newer methods will have greater risk the first time it is used and require a bit time to spec out properly. But in the end it may dramatically reduce the material used and therefore the lower cost.

      I have seen a lot of that in businesses I worked at and and at customers. sometimes it is due to a corporate culture of not taking risks. However companies that are willing of taking some risk sometimes get the rewards of lower cost and a better competitive position in the market.

  • Freddy D

    Sure seems like a “doh!” Sometime things are just so obvious in hindsight.

    • jeffhre

      Doh! Thanks Freddy my comment above is a nod to your comment here.

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