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Start-up launches precast foundations for wind turbines

9 Nov 20 Hamburg-based start-up Anker Foundations has come up with a new system for building the foundations of wind turbines and is seeking licensees.

While classic turbine foundations are made of concrete that is poured on-site, Anker Foundations GmbH is pursuing a completely different path. Its system consists of individual parts that are prefabricated under controlled conditions and then assembled on site. No heavy transport is required, it says.

The company has developed the technology with the aim of solving problems associated with classic foundation construction for onshore wind turbines. It said that long construction times, high use of materials, dependence on the weather, complex and cost-intensive dismantling and disposal, and complex construction site logistics have all long characterised the construction of the foundations.

Anker said that the foundations – built to industrial and certified manufacturing quality standards – provide simplified construction site logistics and easy dismantling.

The Anker team’s foundation-specialist and managing director Gregor Prass has promised fast and year-round construction, without the need for sealing the ground first.

“Conventional foundation construction for modern wind turbines is expensive, time-consuming and also ecologically damaging,” said Prass. “The same applies to the necessary dismantling, which can only be carried out with heavy equipment, and sometimes even requires blasting of the foundations, all of which is extremely time-consuming and costly. Our motivation for founding the company was therefore to strive for a modern foundation technology.”

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He said that, while wind turbines have undergone enormous development in recent years, there has been a technological standstill when it comes to building their foundations. The company began trails in 2019 and started mass production last month.

“We designed the foundation in such a way that we can do without any heavy transport and the foundation is erected within three days. We can reduce construction site transports by up to 70%,” said Gregor Prass.

The idea of developing and selling an improved foundation technology came about through discussions with Hessian project developer Burg Lichtenfels Energie. The company was looking for innovative ideas for building foundations for a wind farm project.

“Classic in-situ concrete foundations are not very popular, especially with property owners, as their dismantling has not been fully clarified and considerable costs can arise for property owners if dismantling guarantees are not adequately enforced,” said Christoph Schwenzer, project manager at Burg Lichtenfels Energie. “From the outset, we were also impressed by the ecological aspects of Anker‘s solution. The prefabricated foundations from Anker Foundations GmbH require up to 70% less concrete and do not need to be sealed. This helps to further reduce the CO2 footprint of wind turbines and minimizes their impact on the environment.”

“We are proud of what we have achieved in a comparatively short time so far,” said Prass. “Nevertheless, we don't want to rest on our laurels, and are therefore continuing our work. At the moment, we are also focused on finding licensees around the world who want to produce or offer our foundations."

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