NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

Giant PYRAmatrix Composite Turbine Towers

15 July 2002

PYRAmatrix Structures have received a US Department of Energy grant to develop taller and lighter weight wind turbine towers for lower cost electricity generation.

""PYRAmatrix composite towers are 53% less expensive than steel towers thus reducing the cost of energy up to 20%. This dramatic savings makes the cost of wind energy equal, for the first time, to environmentally dirty non-renewable coal power,"" said Tracy Livingston, PYRAmatrix CTO. ""PYRAmatrix's vastly lighter weight and ease of modular transport and assembly provides cost savings in manufacturing and erecting 1.5 to 5 megawatt (MW) turbine towers.""

Larger capacity turbines approaching 5 MW are needed for greater power production. Steel towers supporting such large units weigh over 1,000,000 pounds. Too large and costly for land transport, these massive towers are thus limited to offshore ocean locations. In contrast, a modular PYRAmatrix tower weighing only 40,000 pounds is easier and more economical to transport and assemble thus allowing land installation near cities where power is needed most.

Breakthrough PYRAmatrix incorporates the inherent strength of both composites and pyramids. By weaving composite material into lattices of reinforcing pyramids, PYRAmatrix towers are 76% lighter than aluminum, 96% lighter than steel and 25 times stronger than steel. For example, a 47 foot PYRAmatrix tube 18 inches in diameter and weighing just 23 pounds supports almost 8,000 pounds or 350 times its weight. To support the same weight, a steel tube of the same dimensions weighs 1,875 pounds and supports only 4.3 times its weight.

For enhanced appearance and functionality, towers may be sheathed to provide the tubular appearance of steel. Cold climates may also dictate sheathing to protect technicians climbing inside these 20 stories tall structures.

PYRAmatrix's design flexibility allows manufacture in virtually any combination of off-the-shelf carbon fibers (including extremely high temperature tolerance fibers), fiberglass, and resin materials. Product sizes range from 3 inches to beyond 20 feet in diameter and in lengths over 300 feet. Cross-sectional configurations include round, oval, tapered, or box beam.






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