Using concrete to build taller wind turbines is the key idea behind new research out of Iowa State University, supported by a state economic development grant and wind-energy partners. "We have definitely reached the limits of steel towers," Sri Sritharan of Iowa State University's Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department. "Increasing the steel tower by 20 meters will require significant cost increases and thus the wind energy industry is starting to say, 'Why don’t we go to concrete?'" Among the benefits of using concrete for taller wind turbines are precast concrete's wide availability, less reliance on imported steel for the towers, and the ease with which smaller precast segments can be assembled onsite.
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