Iowa State engineers design, test taller, high-strength concrete towers for wind turbines
AMES, Iowa — Engineers at Iowa State University are working on a way to make wind turbine towers taller by building them from concrete instead of the steel currently used.
Increasing tower height to about 328 feet from the current 260 feet would mean steadier less turbulent wind conditions and longer turbine blades. ISU Professor Sri Sritharan says those changes could increase energy production by 15 percent.
He says the work he's done with engineering graduate student Grant Schmitz and other engineers at Iowa State shows towers made of precast concrete panels and columns withstand necessary stresses.
He says the concrete towers would last longer than steel towers and would be easier to transport.
A $109,000 Grow Iowa Values Fund grant from the state helped fund the research which is ongoing.