Wind turbine towers are set to reach heights of up to 170m with new construction techniques and materials, according to wind power engineering specialists K2 Management.
Tower heights have grown steadily over the last decade as operators seek stronger wind speeds higher up in the atmosphere.
New technology developments like modular concrete structures mean turbine heights are likely to soar to up to 170m in the coming years – higher than London’s Gherkin.
This compares to the tallest towers of 150m at present. There has been a 48% increase in average hub height since 1999. New manufacturing techniques are enabling turbine firms to go higher, which helps make them more efficient.
According to wind resource experts, a 3 MW turbine located in a forest area for example, with an average wind speed of 6 meters per second, will meet 13 % more wind speed if the turbine height doubled from 70 to 140 meters.
Annual energy yield prediction would increase by almost 30% because of less surface aerodynamic drag and the viscosity of the air. Therefore, going up to 170 meters from 70 meters will boost energy yield prediction by 35% on average.
The more complex the terrain – for instance forests, hills, mountain, buildings – the larger the impact is in using taller turbine towers.
K2 Management chief executive Henrik Stamer said: “170m towers could become a common sight in the near future in markets like the USA and Germany as part of a new renewable skyline. We expect to see more of these mega designs as we help our clients get the most out of their wind projects.”
Through its network of experts across the globe, K2 Management possesses a unique vantage point overlooking the wind industry, allowing for a view into emerging trends. The Company is able to draw on this wide breadth of experience to identify ways of making wind projects more efficient.
Stamer adds: “As a company that is at the global cutting edge of technology we are helping push the limits of the wind industry in terms of power generation efficiency, cost-effectiveness and return on investment; and these new mega wind turbine towers are a case in point.”