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Strong gravity foundation reaches the next level

By Peikko’s blog team

June, 9, 2022

The world changes rapidly, and unfortunately not all this change is positive. The current climate crisis and ongoing political situations direct stronger than ever towards more sustainable and cost-efficient solutions worldwide, and wind park projects are not an exception. This is why Peikko’s Gravity7 foundation solution has been developed.

Even though wind is generally seen as a low carbon energy source, it has its emissions, mainly during the construction phase. Peikko aims at systematically lowering the emissions of its foundation solutions to make wind as green as possible. If the material amounts can be reduced, the foundation will be easier and faster to build. Therefore, the price, and CO2 emissions , will be lower as well.

Optimization is the key for a successful project

With steel prices currently at unprecedented levels, an optimized foundation design makes financially more sense than ever. Wind energy is strongly supported and will remain as a hot topic for many years to come, in and outside of Europe. In Europe this development is driven by the European Commission’s Green Deal ambition. Basically, by 2030, Europe needs to install more than 30 GW of wind capacity annually to achieve at least 40% share of renewables in the EU’s energy demand target.

Apart from the green transition driving the demand, an energy security aspect needs to be considered as well. In the light of the ongoing political situation since February 24th, Europe rapidly needs to rethink and decrease its dependence on third party fossil fuels. In this energy mix, the usage of oil, coal, and gas will need to be replaced by renewables, and onshore wind energy is anticipated to gain a very significant share of this total. 

To put it in a simple way, there is a plenty of need for wind turbine foundations in many years to come and cost competitive foundation designs and steel components are needed in these foundations.

It only gets better with age

Peikko has designed and delivered components for wind turbine foundations for over 10 years now, and the development work still continues. One of the all-time most popular of Peikko’s foundation solutions, gravity foundation, is well suited for most of the European market needs. The new Gravity7 foundation is used on a variety of geotechnical conditions. The loads are transferred from the tower to the ground through an anchor cage along with a wide and shallow foundation over large area of soil.

The first designs and projects were completed as early as 2011, but the gravity foundation has gone through several development phases ever since. The new 7th generation foundation, Gravity7, is a result of this evolution to meet the needs of new 6MW and bigger wind turbine sizes, with the state-of-the-art design.

What is different then? Gravity7 is designed with a dedicated in-house software developed for more than 3 years. The design is optimized with a full 3D FEM model including advanced non-linear soil model that allows extremely precise performance modeling and design calculations. Previously unaccounted effects that change the reinforcement layout are now calculated, which improves the structural safety. The new software also ensures that all points in the foundation are checked for structural capacity whereas the traditional method includes checking one critical section only.

All these improvements result in less concrete and steel usage compared to the traditional methods, and eventually, the CO2 emissions of the foundation are lowered substantially.

Thanks to a clever design, the new Gravity7 is a smaller foundation for bigger turbines – with increased safety.

Gravity7 – foundation reference case

To make it more tangible, let’s take a look at a potential reference case of Gravity7.

A 6.2 MW turbine with a tower height of 150 meters uses:

  • 1,000m3 of concrete (100 truckloads)
  • 100t of steel (5 truckloads)
  • 1 anchor cage (1 truckload)
  • 5-6 days installation time
  • installation team of 8
  • excavator & crane
  • -30% CO2 emissions when compared to traditional solutions

Gravity7 is the perfect choice for any project looking for the latest foundation technology, no matter if your bets are on the material savings, speed of installation, or emissions saved.