Iowa State awarded $1M to improve wind turbines

Source: By Kait McKinney, KCCI • Posted: Monday, September 22, 2014

AMES, Iowa —Engineers at one university have the chance to make a big difference in the wind energy industry.

Wind turbines are now built with 80-meter steel towers, but high-strength concrete towers would allow wind energy companies to access faster and steadier winds that are better reached at heights of more than 100 meters. The use of concrete towers would also put an end to the need to transport steel towers on highways.

Engineers at the university tested full-size tower segments and connections last year and found that the concrete technology could be designed to better handle the load expected for taller towers at extreme conditions.

In addition to the 18-month grant, the wind tower project will be supported by a grant of $83,500 from the Iowa Energy Center and $22,500 of in-kind contributions from Lafarge North America Inc., the media release said.