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Novel concept of cost-effective and simplified in-situ concrete tower of 140m for harnessing higher and more consistent wind velocities and enhancing the power output of wind turbines

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LiraTower (Novel concept of cost-effective and simplified in-situ concrete tower of 140m for harnessing higher and more consistent wind velocities and enhancing the power output of wind turbines)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2015-10-31

Ingecid, a renowned engineering company focused on novel constructive processes applied to wind energy, where the cost of installations is dominated by the CAPEX of wind turbines (ca. 84%), is developing the design that afterwards will be certified of a cost-competitive in-situ monolithic concrete tower solution of 134m, named LiraTower, while exploiting a 4.34M€ (by 2020) business opportunity. LiraTower can be described as a cost-effective (ca. 29-45% lower cost than commercially available tower solutions) in-situ concrete tower of 134m with a simplified construction process with lead-time reduction. The full-concrete tower and the construction designs have been optimized to offer an extremely competitive solution for next-generation and repowered wind farms. Overall, the in-situ erected LiraTower has: a) No joints with compromised fatigue resistance, b) No associated costs of transport large prefabricated tower sections, c) Less costs of cranes for erection, d) No need of nearby associated prefabrication plants neither on-site mechanizing. The superior height of LiraTower would enable future installations of >3MW wind turbines to harness 2.5 and 8% higher wind velocities and produce up to 7 and 26% more power than if installed at 120 and 80m heights, respectively. In addition, its unique design of internal and external tendons, that brace the in-situ concrete shaft to the foundations, allows the tower to have a constant and slender diameter of 4m, enabling a simplified and more economical in-situ construction process than current pre-cast tower solutions (which raise the logistic and elevation costs significantly (ca. 70-85%)) with consequential CAPEX reduction of 10-14% in € per installed MW when referring to installation costs of the WTG. LiraTower is at a technology readiness level (TRL) 6 stage of development. The overall aim of the project is to take the technology to TRL9 and to commercialize it. Once LiraTower will obtain the “Statement of Compliance for its Design Assessment” according to DNV-GL guidelines, Ingecid has the ambition of penetrating the wind energy sector by selling LiraTower to wind technology developers as an economically and energetically profitable tower solution. At first, the innovative concept design of LiraTower will be used for the on-site erection of full-concrete wind turbine towers. However, it is also technically and economically feasible to erect hybrid (steel-concrete) towers using our approach up to the first 50m high.
Work performed during the reporting period has been carried out from August to October 2015, covering the following tasks to assess the technical, commercial, and financial viability of our LiraTower proposal.
Task 1: Determination of the detailed scope of the project, by estimating the timing, budget, and specific activities required for the design, certification, industrialization, and commercialization processes of LiraTower.
Task 2: Identification of potential stakeholders (ie. construction partners, key partners, wind manufacturer third parties) in the European wind energy market to establish commercial agreements offering our LiraTower design and construction tools.
Task 3: A cost estimation of the Design Assessment of the 134m high LiraTower for a GAMESA G132-3.3MW WTG has been carried out.
Task 4: A deep intellectual property and regulations analysis (IPR) have been carried out in order to assess LiraTower patent application (P201530080) freedom-to-operate status. The patent of others have been analysed to determine whether LiraTower solution infringed any other patent claim.
Task 5: A thorough research of LiraTower target market has been done, analysing both the European and Global wind energy sector; supply vs demand, future trends, financial benefits, government support, and legislation are included.
Task 6: The Market Study also refines the analysis of the potential competitors, showing evidences of the LiraTower project profitability in the target markets while emphasizing its competitive advantages.
Task 7: A commercialization strategy of LiraTower has been elaborated. To get into direct contact with European potential clients various channels will be used: directly, trade fairs, conferences, and flagship projects. Other communication ways such as a web page and publications will be also used.
Task 8: The financial assessment of the LiraTower solution set the business margins for entering the market of next-generation wind turbines, considering the first sales activity in 2018 and a prediction of sales and benefits until 2022. Contract alternatives such as non-exclusive licensing of our patent and/or as revenue share have been considered.
Task 9: Evaluation of the project risks from a technical, commercial, and financial perspective has been carried out along with their mitigation plan.
In addition, a business plan has been done to complete the LiraTower marketing strategy in line with the current state and future commercial plans of the project.
Our LiraTower project will boost the commercialization of a unique wind turbine tower design for next- generation wind turbine generators through:
The development of an in-situ constructed, cost-efficient full-concrete tower of 134m (ca. 45, 38 and 29% less expensive than conventional steel, hybrid and precast concrete towers, respectively) with an operational lifetime up to 40 years and reduction of CO2 emission up to 60%, that enable our customers to reduce O&M costs (other tower solutions have 80-85% more O&M costs than LiraTower).
The development and promotion in the wind energy sector of an alternative and novel design loads and tower clearance criteria than those used hitherto.
The design of a tower which simplified the construction process by a self-climbing and constant framework (efficient construction process with ca. 15% of cost reduction in comparison to other concrete towers) and is erected through consecutive in-situ casting sections, limiting logistic costs and elevation cranes (expenses grow up to 70-85% for other solutions).
The design of a monolithic full-concrete and in-situ constructed LiraTower of 134m tall for a GAMESA G132-3.3MW with the possibility to erect a hybrid tower using LiraTower technology.
The patent of our LiraTower innovative solution of in-situ constructed monolithic (no fatigue vulnerable joints and no derived costs of joint inspection) wind turbine tower of constant diameter (only 4m vs. 6.8m in base for some precast solutions) with an unique post-tensioned shaft system and foundations with minimum dimensions (15-17m vs. 25m for some precast towers, less concrete needed).
Gaining the Certification Report and further Statement of Compliance for the Design Assessment of the GAMESA LiraTower in accordance with the GL – Guideline for the Certification of Wind Turbines, Edition 2010.
The development, in the near future, of tailored solutions based on our LiraTower technology for other European WTG manufacturers (Vestas, Nordex, Enercon, Siemens) enabling ≥3MW wind turbine to reach higher altitudes and consequently increasing their energy output up to 7 and 26% more power than if installed at 120 and 80m heights, respectively.
We expect to have over 4.34M€ net profit by 2022. With an additional 0.82M€ being necessary to go on with the development of LiraTower, a market introduction in 2018 and by 2022 600MW installed (190 units) we estimate our break‐even point to be reached in the 3rd year after market introduction.