Wind turbines are already among the most effective tools for producing electricity without polluting the air during power generation. Now, the GreenerTower, from European renewable energy company Siemens Gamesa, aims to make clean energy cleaner by reducing the pollution of wind turbine production.
A video posted to LinkedIn by the World Economic Forum (WEF) explains that the GreenerTower will use steel that produces 63% less carbon pollution than conventional steel. The tower is due to be available for wind projects this year, with at least one order made already.
The company will use third-party verification to ensure there is at most the equivalent of 0.7 tons of carbon pollution per ton of greener steel (compared with 1.91 tons of pollution per ton of conventional steel) “while maintaining the same steel properties and quality” as current products, per a release.
Traditional steel manufacturing creates significant pollution, and Siemens Gamesa says tower production accounts for about 33% of all carbon pollution associated with a wind turbine.
Wind turbines are still far less polluting than dirty energy sources like coal and gas. In an article for WEF, Siemens Gamesa CEO Jochen Eickholt noted that even accounting for the whole production process, wind turbines are only responsible for 10 grams of carbon pollution per kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced — dirtier fuels are responsible for 800 grams per kWh.
And yet, greener turbines could still be a towering achievement. Siemens Gamesa estimates that “If all towers installed by the company in one year were exchanged with GreenerTowers, it would be the same as removing more than 466,000 cars from the roads in Europe for a year.”
“Wind power is one of the cornerstones of the green energy transition,” Maximilian Schnippering, Siemens Gamesa’s head of sustainability, said in a statement. “With more than 600 [gigawatts] of new capacity to be installed worldwide in the next five years, it is important for the wind industry to reduce its carbon footprint. Our project to address emissions with greener steel is one such solution.”
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.