Great Potential of 3D Printing in Renewable Energy

GE: Making A Difference in The Wind

To combat the ever increasing threat of the global climate crisis, reducing greenhouse emissions is one of the means that has long been considered. The wind energy sector plays a significant role towards this end. However, knowing how time-consuming in manufacturing and fund-heavy wind turbines can be, much research is being poured into making them more affordable and eco-friendly. This is where additive manufacturing (AM) comes into the fore.

GE Renewable Energy is seriously considering this task with its ongoing efforts to improve wind turbine efficiency and performance with 3D printing. It is well aware of the benefits of the technology to the wind energy sector.

First of all, turbine blade tips, fabricated using 3D printing and thermoplastic composites, are lighter than conventional counterparts. This allows for larger rotors on turbines to generate more power, reduce the strain on the entire turbine, the wear and tear on its gearboxes, drivetrains, bearings, and foundation, and as well as lower lifecycle costs for turbine operators. Also, 3D printed blade tips could be melted down and recycled when they have run their course. The company aims to increase the competitiveness of their onshore and offshore wind energy sites by leveraging 3D printing to reduce manufacturing costs and improve supply chain flexibility.

Using AM will maximize the total amount of clean, renewable energy that can be generated, at the same time, lower the project’s carbon footprint by simplifying the manufacturing assembly processes and logistics, improving the durability and reliability of its products, and reducing the number of parts needing to be manufactured and transported from long distances.

Other benefits include time-to-market, 3D printing of molds for castings, more resilient, local, and robust supply chains, and high-quality consistency due to the technology’s automated and digitized nature. 3D printing paves the way for more efficient designs that can be customized to specific locations and applications.

GE aims to step up the energy transition by using sustainable design to maximize the environmental benefits for all stakeholders.

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