Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
  Fossil fuels
  Nuclear fission
  Nuclear fusion
  Rational energy use
  Reliability of supply
  Renewable energy sources
  Other
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belgium
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Malta
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


   Success Stories

Last Update: 19-09-2012  
Related category(ies):
Energy  |  Industrial research

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Finland  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Portugal  |  Sweden
Add to PDF "basket"

HISTWIN – Smarter steel designs to boost wind tower power

In recent years, wind power has grown from a quirky sideline to a key player in Europe's energy mix. Today's wind towers can reach 200 metres high, with rotor diameters of more than 100 metres, generating up to 7.5 megawatts of power. They are 10 times the size of those built 30 years ago, generating 100 times the power. As the towers get bigger and stronger, new challenges arise, particularly how to make the tower and blades robust enough to cope with the forces gusting their way.


© Fotolia, 2012

A European Union (EU) research project is addressing this problem by devising new ways to build the steel towers to cope with winds that can spin the tips of the rotors at race car-like speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. The project, High Strength Steel Tower for Wind Turbines (HISTWIN), was launched in 2006 and backed by €836,000 in EU funding from the Research Fund for Coal & Steel.

By bringing together universities, tower designers, turbine manufacturers and a certification body, HISTWIN was able to pool knowledge and resources on how to build bigger and more cost-efficient towers. "Wind towers are getting more powerful all the time, and our project looked at ways to make them strong enough to support the extra load," says HISTWIN's project coordinator Milan Veljkovic, from Sweden's Luleå Technical University. "We have been able to create a new way to join the sections of a wind turbine tower together that is not only much stronger, but also much cheaper."

The new method dispenses with the previous round, collar-style sections with flanges, the rims or ridges on the edge that are used to attach the pieces. On these connections, the worn-out bolts had to be regularly removed and replaced in costly, tricky and even dangerous operations, particularly for off-shore wind farms.

However, the new method uses a slotted friction-grip connection with high strength bolts (TCBs) to join the parts. By exploiting the friction between the tubular walls of the connection, the only load carried by the bolts is the pre-stressing for contact pressure. No welding is required in the joint and the structure has much better fatigue resistance. "The new joint has at least double the fatigue endurance and almost no limits to the connection strength," says Veljkovic.

The newly designed towers are up to 10% cheaper to build, and the cost of materials used in the joint is around 80% less. The HISTWIN bolted connections are already being used by one leading manufacturer and as industry awareness increases, more are expected to join.

The impact of this innovation could be huge. The wind energy sector contributes around €32 billion to EU GDP, accounting for around 240,000 jobs. Veljkovic estimates that if the method if accepted by all European tower makers, it could lead to annual savings of €240 million.

The research has already led to new design recommendations that comply with both the Eurocode design rules and Germanischer Lloyd WindEnergie's Guidelines for the certification of Wind Turbines.

Although HISTWIN was initially only scheduled for three years, a three-year follow-up project, HISTWIN 2, was launched in 2010 with over €720,000 of EU funding to look at how best to lay foundations and transport the tower sections. Given the way things are blowing in Europe's energy market, the project could represent a massive boost for the wind sector.

Project details

  • Participants: Sweden (Coordinator), Germany, Finland, Greece, Portugal.
  • Project N° RFSR-CT-2006-00031
  • Total costs: € 1 393 722
  • EU contribution: € 836 234
  • Duration: 36 months (July 2006- June 2009)

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use the search box at the top of the page to the right of the menu and then select "Information Centre" in the "Filter by" menu on the results page.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site

Project information on CORDIS

Contacts
Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center