RUTE Foundation Systems has been awarded the 2019 Merit Award from the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI), based on the first installation its concrete-saving, CO2-reducing foundation system for wind turbine towers.
Precasting in Marshall, Minnesota (RUTE)
The industry-first modular wind turbine tower base, developed by RUTE with early support from VertueLab, cuts the amount of concrete needed by 75 percent over the life cycle of a wind farm. Because concrete contains cement, a material that generates large amounts of CO2 during production, the RUTE system also reduces CO2 emissions.
"Using our precast, segmental foundation at a single 60-tower wind farm would keep about 65 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere," said Doug Krause, CEO of RUTE Foundations. "This CO2 reduction is realized through lower concrete usage, a much longer lifecycle of our precast components and the fact new wind farms can come on line a month earlier because our foundations don’t have to cure."
The precast, modular components in the RUTE system are made in beam manufacturing plants and use post-tensioning technology (a method of strengthening concrete with high-strength steel strands common in bridge construction).
The RUTE technology is entering the marketplace just as the wind farm industry is upgrading from 1.5MW turbines to 3.5+MW turbines, which require taller towers. The RUTE system is stronger than standard concrete, so wind farms can upgrade to larger towers without additional costs.
The first RUTE 30BX Foundation was installed at Palmers Creek Wind Farm in Granite Falls, Minnesota, last November and supports a GE 2.5 megawatt turbine on a 295-ft. (90 m) tower hub height (see drone footage video of installation below). RUTE partnered on the project with a team of engineering and construction firms, including Structural Technologies/VSL, RUTE's post-tensioning partner based in Maryland.
"Structural Technologies was delighted to be part of RUTE's Unit 1 Minnesota project and looks forward to being part of this innovative foundation solution for future wind farms," said Dan Harger, General Manager of Structural Technologies/VSL, an industry expert in precast segmental bridge construction.
RUTE Foundations will be presenting its success and industry traction at WINDPOWER 2019, the annual conference of the American Wind Energy Association in Houston, Tex., on May 22 at the Prosper Portland booth #4147.
VertueLab has invested $250,000 in RUTE, financing the engineering effort and providing a range of business support services.
"We couldn't have done this without VertueLab's support," said Krause. "They were our key investor in the Unit One construction in Minnesota, and they've been advisors the whole way, connecting us to key players and adding much more value to the operation than the $250,000 they invested."