An Exoskeleton Tall Tower Option for Small Wind Trubines

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$135K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

AnemErgonics
7015 Nile Court
Arvada, CO 80007
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

The towers and foundations of small wind turbines are expensive, compris- ing 50% or more of the cost of electricity generated by them. This is the inevitable consequence of placing a highly-loaded wind turbine atop a free-standing tower and requiring both devices to comply with myriad design and safety standards. AnemErgonics will address this challenging opportunity by developing cost-effective monopole tower systems that take advantage of the in- creasing wind speeds and energy capture available at greater tower heights. The objective is to develop made-in-the-USA towers of at least 35 meters in height that can be transported and erected with relative ease at the lowest possible installed cost. The technical approach is to use exoskeleton cable-stays or rods to stiffen and strengthen the tower. These devices are supported at some distance from the tower centerline, as is commonly seen on boat masts. A resulting, concentric anchor-rod circle near the base of the tower provides increased tower section modulus and greater strength and stiffness with minimal increase in tower drag. While seeking improve- ments through the innovative exoskeleton approach, it is prudent not to overlook the obvious in the form of optimally-designed, traditional monopole towers. This concept will be used as a benchmark by which the benefits of the innovative exoskeleton design can be measured. The most advantageous tower emerging from the project will be added to AnemErgonics existing portfolio of commercial products. The use of this product will result in lower electricity costs for American consumers, among whom there is widespread support for the development and de- ployment of renewable energy sources. This sentiment arises from interests in energy independ- ence, cleaner air and a desire to create jobs here in the USA.