GEHRY'S PETER B. LEWIS BUILDING - WIND TURBINE TOWER DESIGN?

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 03/22/2007 - 11:52.

When I spoke with Mr. Stuebi of the Cleveland Foundation a few months back, I learned that he and Tyrone White had recently attended this year's international Windfair wind energy trade fair in Hamburg, Germany.  Three years ago I had also attended the same wind energy trade fair and, the main message that I took away after the 5 days I attended, was that component manufacturing for wind turbines was a dynamic and growing business area.  Buying and using wind utility sized turbines is obviously a cutting edge area, but designing, manufacturing, and erecting  wind turbines – towers, blades, foundations, components - is where the real wind energy frontier is. 

 

One of the exhibitors at the fair was DeWind , a German turbine manufacturer.   DeWind hired Ferdinand Porsche, AG, the industrial designer whose Porsche automobiles, and sunglasses are well known, to provide   “design concentrating on the visual implementation of the flow of power”.  The design process focused both inside the nacelle on the mechanical energy conversion components and on the publicly viewable exterior components; blades, tower, and nacelle.  Porsche’s  design presented novel shape and color on  the turbine nacelle which was on view at Windfair.    The  DeWind  cataloque was also  designed by  Porsche and was  the  most  eye catching  cataloque at the  fair.   I brought a copy of the catalogue back and,   after  meeting  CIA's  Doug  Page  at an  REI session,  brought the catalogue  down to  CIA  and  encourged  Mr.  Page to  set a  CIA  agenda  to  design wind turbine components, just as  students  designed  autos for  Detroit.

 

Back here in Cleveland I am aware that Sarah Taylor is an energetic supporter of  Frank Gehry’s Peter B.Lewis Building and I share her appreciation for the vitality that  the Lewis Building exudes to the benefit of the community.  The novel construction techniques used in erecting the Lewis Building also energized the NEO construction community – teaching new methods of steel fabrication and erection, and curved drywall application among them.  I also am aware of Sarah’s  Windustrious flash presentation  which promotes (though without first considering land based alternatives or the public cost  or practical feasibility of offshore turbines ) that Cuyahoga County install  wind turbines in Lake Erie off of Cleveland.

 

We all know that what you see is how you look at it – your vantage point and perspective change the appearance of the world.  The photo above shows what I believe is the best face of the Peter B. Lewis Building and shows the best of Mr. Gehry’s inspiration.  So that view’s for Sarah.  Then I thought – why can’t Mr. Gehry design wind turbine towers and turbines? I’ll bet Mr. Gehry hasn’t thought of using his Digital Project software (this is the software which allows Mr. Gehry to go curvy crazy, and still have the ability to produce CAD programs to pull the buildings drawings together)   to crank out revolutionary towers and turbines  - here in NEO.  Having the Cuyahoga County Commissioners spend taxpayer money on pursuing that objective would be something Sarah and I could agree on right now!


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Innovations in wind - EU has De Wind

Really interesting points and it would be cool if Gehry got this - looking at the PBLewis one expects those rooflines to have some ingenius function beyond engineering marvel. As interesting, I checked out the DeWind website you linked in and saw the following post on composite wind turbine systems that can teach us about the potential and future of innovation in this field and probably surfaces technologies that will happen with wind over the next few years where NEO could partner and be first - perhaps we could he the US hub for something like this (or invent the next best things) - it seems we are still focused on the last big thing instead of the next better thing!

Composite Wind Tower System

 Features

  • Technologically superior wind tower system
  • Unique composite structure with new materials and processes (patent pending)
  • Shallower foundations required
  • Light structure facilitates simplified, self-erecting installation by use of a gantry system rather than a crane
  • Proprietary 'snap-joint' construction
  • Telescopic design
  • On-site manufacture capability
  • Cost of tower system is up to 50% of conventional steel tower systems(steel prices at Dec 03 levels)
  • Higher tower capabilities gives proven greater efficiency and lower noise
  • Offshore tower system in development
  • Environmentally friendly solution 

Benefits

  • Significant economic advantages
  • Not subject to vagaries of steel pricing
  • Stronger than conventional steel towers
  • Taller towers expose turbines to stronger winds
  • Simplified installation
  • Reduced installation costs
  • Reduced maintenance costs.
  • Little or no turbine vibration transmitted through tower
  • Erection process can be reversed for servicing of blades & turbine giving rapid turn-around time
  • Composite structure is not affected by the elements and is corrosion free
  • Enables erection of 80m+ wind farms on rough terrain or small sites by eliminating expensive cranes
  • Lower costs and ease of installation enables use of marginal wind sites
  • Increased wind farm utilisation with larger capacity turbines using towers not encumbered by roads, infrastructure or crane height limitations and expense.
  • In difficult access areas tower equipment can be placed using helicopter

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