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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019

Abstract

WAY, A C  and  VAN ZIJL, G P A G. A study on the design and material costs of tall wind turbine towers in South Africa. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2015, vol.57, n.4, pp.45-54. ISSN 2309-8775.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-8775/2015/v57n4a6.

The aim of this project was to study the structural design and material costing of various designs of tall wind turbine towers and the associated foundations in a South African context. Design guidelines are proposed for the design of tubular steel, concrete and concrete-steel hybrid towers and foundations for hub heights of 80, 100 and 120 m. The results indicate that concrete and hybrid towers become viable alternatives to the conventional steel towers at hub heights equal to and above 100 m. Three heights - 80 m, 100 m and 120 m - of each type of tower (steel, concrete and hybrid) and their foundations were designed according to the relevant design standards. The designs were verified using the Abaqus CAE finite element software (SIMULIA 2010). The material costs of the designs were calculated for a South African environment, according to the increases in material cost with increasing hub height. In this paper, the required foundation sizes for the concrete and hybrid towers were found to be smaller than for the steel towers. The material costs of the concrete and hybrid towers were shown to be lower than for the steel towers, especially at hub heights above 100 m. An increase in hub height caused an increase in energy generation of 3.52% and 6.28% for 80 m to 100 m, and for 80 m to 120 m hub heights, respectively. It is postulated that the concrete and hybrid towers become viable alternatives to the conventional steel towers at hub heights above 100 m.

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