New facility in Bergen will use 3D printing technology for wind turbines

BERGEN, NY (WROC) — A new research and development facility, unveiled Thursday, will use 3D printing to make wind turbines more efficient. Meteorologist Christine Gregory was there for the announcement and takes a look at what it all means.

The first and largest of its kind in the world, located in Genesee County, will house research into using 3D printing technology to reduce costs and improve the performance of wind farms. This multifunctional construction robot will be able to print more than 10 tons of real concrete per hour and is the first to contain two x axes on the printer.

According to Danielle Merfeld, chief technology officer at GE Renewable Energy, innovation is the main driver for accelerating the energy transition. She says, “We really need to rethink how we make wind turbines and that means rethinking even the basics, which is how you build the tower, what we do here. We are rethinking this and innovating a new way to make it cheaper, more sustainable and more local.

If you ever thought wind farms were big, the size of the 3D printer they use is about 3 stories tall.

Drawing resources from global companies around the world, Deputy Undersecretary for Renewable Energy Alejandro Moreno is equally hopeful that wind power holds the key to a cleaner, more affordable energy system. It states, “…and which also has infrastructure that benefits Americans both in terms of the infrastructure itself, energy services, and also creates more jobs locally in towns across the county.”

With wind towers reaching up to 65 feet, it won’t just be the wind itself that will blow you away.

After building a prototype of a wind turbine tower early next year, GE Energy hopes it will become part of mainstream practice in wind farm manufacturing over the next few years.

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