Wind turbine towers are used to support wind power generating turbines. Wind turbines are either vertical or horizontal axis, which essentially tells us the orientation of the axis about which the turbine rotates.
Structural design of wind turbine towers is based on dynamic forces imparted by the turbine apart from the turbine’s weight.
Two important considerations in design of wind towers is the ease of transportation and erection.
Often turbine towers manufactured in India and China are exported worldwide. This requires the manufacturer to ship the tower components in 20 or 40 feet containers. Hence the designs are optimized in a way such that the maximum utilization of the shipping container can be done. One way to achieve this is to use nested components, where one part of the tower can fit into the other part so that the shipping container is completely utilized.
Turbine towers are mostly erected using cranes. Smaller towers can also be erected using hydraulic rams. Cranes are not required if the towers are erected using hydraulic rams. This speeds up the erection process and also is also cost effective. Moreover it is easier to lower the wind turbine for maintenance purpose.
Capstone team has also designed a unique system where even large height turbine towers can be erected using hydraulic rams. This system has a potential to bring in much cost savings for larger turbine towers.