Home » France claims world first with wind turbine foundation

France claims world first with wind turbine foundation

by Mark Cantrell
Two companies based in France claim to have poured the world's first wind turbine foundation made from 0% clinker-free decarbonised concrete.

Two companies based in France claim to have poured the world’s first wind turbine foundation made from 0% clinker-free decarbonised concrete.

Green energy producer, the Valorem Group, and Hoffmann Green Cement Technologies, took the step on the site of the Plaine des Moulins wind farm in Jazeneuil, Vienne, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of western France.

The wind turbine foundation was poured using 630 m3 of decarbonated concrete, the use of which is said to have resulted in a saving of 33 tonnes of CO2; 32% less than with traditional concrete. Furthermore, it was achieved without any change in construction methods.

According to the two companies, this achievement is all the more remarkable in that it concerns a very demanding application; pouring is carried out in a single operation, with a very high density of reinforcement to ensure the durability of this type of structure.

The Plaine des Moulins wind farm will consist of five wind turbines, each 180 metres high at the blade tip, with a total installed capacity of 18 MW, and will generate around 42 GWh of green electricity. This is equivalent to 18.6% of the electricity consumption of the Haut Poitou community. The wind farm is scheduled for commissioning in early 2025.

Baptiste Walyn, director of Valrea, Valorem Group’s construction subsidiary, said: “The Valorem Group is delighted with this world first. Wind turbine foundations are often the target of misinformation.

“While steel-reinforced concrete is non-polluting for the soil, and while all wind turbine foundations are removed at the end of the park’s life and the concrete recycled, we are also proving today that innovation can significantly reduce their carbon impact on the park’s overall carbon footprint. The Valorem Group is a company with a mission, resolutely committed to reducing all its impacts.”

Julien Blanchard and David Hoffmann, co-founders of Hoffmann Green Cement Technologies, added: “We are very proud to be part of this world premiere: the pouring of the first wind turbine foundation using clinker-free decarbonized concrete.

“This achievement represents a key milestone for Hoffmann Green and strengthens our position on the wind energy market within the strategic renewable energy sector. This achievement is in line with our partnership signed with Biobuild in October 2022. It will enable us to promote eco-responsible construction methods while guaranteeing the quality of the foundations, as part of our common commitment to the ecological transition.”

Under the Energy and Climate Act, France aims to achieve a 33% share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption by 2030. The renewable energy market therefore represents a key growth potential in which Hoffmann Green intends to strengthen its position. In the wind energy market segment, almost 300 projects are expected to be deployed in the medium term.

Five years in the making

Prior to this first pouring, five years of testing were required to assess the performance, durability and safety of H-UKR cement and concrete. The Appréciations Techniques d’Expérimentation (ATEx) issued by the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) are the result of this in-depth work, and cover complex technical issues such as dimensioning under heavy load, which is essential for wind turbine foundations.

In addition to the test phase, ongoing technical exchanges have been held with the various partners, from the dimensioning of the wind turbine foundation by CTE Wind to the calibration of the concrete formulation, and the performance of suitability tests, and a prototype with the RBS and Lepine TP teams.

Mélaine Besse, président of BioBuild, said: “Reducing the carbon footprint of renewable energy projects is essential both for the image of our industries and for the ecological transition overall. As the company responsible for strategic studies and analyses, it was natural for BioBuild to join forces with Hoffmann, with whom we share a common vision in favour of eco-sustainable construction.”

Emmanuel Hamon, senior site supervisor, and Mickaël Leray, branch manager at Lépine TP – Groupe Angevin, said: “The Groupe Angevin is involved in hydraulic civil engineering (waste water, drinking water) and civil engineering structures (PS, PI, small viaducts, wind farms, etc.). We immediately agreed to take part in this sustainable project in order to bring our expertise in the specific techniques required for this kind of project.”

Frédéric Limouzin, concrete sector manager at RBS – CMGO, said: “The core business of Carrières et Matériaux du Grand Ouest (CMGO) is the operation of quarries and concrete plants, as well as the production, recovery, recycling and sale of sand and gravel. As the first link in the construction chain, we are delighted to have been associated with this iconic project in the Grand Ouest region, which promotes environment-friendly construction.”

Thanh Binh Tran, technical director of CTE Wind, added: “As an engineering and consultancy company specialised in the design of foundations for wind turbines, CTE Wind has designed almost 30,000 foundations for 2,500 wind farms since it was founded. This first project using 0% clinker concrete, which reduces CO2 emissions, represents a strategic turning point in the fast-growing renewable energy market.”

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