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December 14, 2007

Friday Crane Porn: GTK 1100

Still no cats in my home, so no Friday cat blogging, and also no new barfly artwork to present. Instead, I'll deliver some porn.

Here is a brand new crane that fascinates me since it was announced in April this year.

This is a GTK 1100, a crane specifically build for erecting wind energy mills, at its very first job. (bigger pic)

It is a product of Grove, a U.S. company belonging to the Manitowoc group. But it was engineered and manufactured in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, by a former part of the Krupp group. The idea for this thing came from the junior chief of a German crane operating company, Wiesbauer, which now owns its very first instantiation.

The top high of the crane is 140 meters, 460 feet. Top load is some 100 metric tons, 110 U.S. tons.

The new idea in it is the self-erecting telescopic tower and its bracing. The tower carries a slightly modified top part of a typical telescopic road crane.

So far lattice boom cranes have been used to erect big wind mills. (Here in some recent work on a 5 megawatt tower).

The new GTK 1100 needs only 4-5 truck loads to be transported and it is set up in about six hours. Lattice boom cranes need 15+ truckloads and take days to be erected. Sure, they do have a higher top capacity, but that isn't needed for these energy mills.

A nice computer animation of the GTK concept shows some details. And last week saw the GTK's very first erection and job in the field. Good pictures are available in a German crane forum here and here. (Also at the Wiesbauer site: 1, 2, 3, 4.) There isn't much of technical descriptions out yet, but an unofficial version of a brochure is this pdf from a (slow) Polish site.

Taking a higher point of view, the German concept of subsidizing wind energy for a certain time shows success. Guaranteeing high, but constantly decreasing, sponsored wholesale prices, resulted in a big push for related industries. There are now new companies for engineering and building these mills, the crane manufacturers are booming, the farmers are happy about the new crop. Over the last years some 200,000 new jobs have been directly and indirectly created through alternative energy production.

For a nation with few natural resources and little terrain, these are welcome new Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW like companies. Exporters built on knowledge and capability that allow a decent amount of national imports without running catastrophic deficits.

Sure, electricity prices have gone up a bit because of the subsidies. But less dependence on fossil energy and on foreign money may help to avoid future resource wars that would come at a much higher price.

Posted by b on December 14, 2007 at 21:01 UTC | Permalink


Nice crane there big

Hey b, you ever check out BLDG BLOG? It provides architectural news and conjecture, it's heavily illustrated and an interesting read.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 14 2007 23:34 utc | 1


Posted by: annie | Dec 15 2007 0:49 utc | 2

is that an extremely large condom that the crane is picking up?

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 15 2007 1:11 utc | 3


Posted by: beq | Dec 15 2007 1:47 utc | 4

@ Uncle - How do you find this stuff?

Posted by: beq | Dec 15 2007 1:53 utc | 5

why not design telescoping wind energy mills & cut out the middlemen?

Posted by: b real | Dec 15 2007 3:52 utc | 6

This is a very interesting and informative post. I am far too much of a gentleman to make any crude erection jokes.

Posted by: Lurch | Dec 15 2007 4:27 utc | 7

If one lives in the Happy Little Kingdom of Denmark (where the king is a queen, but not in drag) then one "knows" that Denmark invented the windmill...

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Dec 15 2007 8:43 utc | 8

Some amazing pictures of finished windmills on the lattice crane link. They are much bigger than anything I've seen around here. Had no idea they've gotten so sophisticated with the tech, that they would be building them that huge.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 15 2007 8:58 utc | 9

you are right anna missed about the these things being huge. the blades are 80 meters long (that is almost as long as a football field or exactly 262.47 feet) and can create 5 MEGAwatts of electricity.

they have really taken off here in Germany and it is because there is profit in it for many and the ratepayers are willing to go along with increases in electricity price. landowners are able to rent the space for the windgenerator and even adjacent landowners get something if they are within a certain distance of the windmill. this money comes in every year and has already created cases of someone building a windmill in front of another and taking away his air. even small communities are using tax money to invest in the construction of these mills which they then get back a little at a time when the electricity is sold.

still, there are skeptics. it is not clear who will pay to decommission these mills should they need to come down. and of course some complain about them making noise. in the stillness found in German forests and woodlands you can indeed here the slowly pulsating sound of these giant mills. it is not unpleasant but it is something that you can hear and some complain loudly about that. others are put off by seeing these things on the landscape. I personally think they are beautiful but others see them as ugly man made monstrosities in the middle of a natural setting. the offshore wind farms receive less resistance because they are mostly out of sight.

b real, the column that the generator sits on is basically a hollow cylinder that has to be able to resist the force of wind blowing on rotors spanning nearly 500 feet. if you start putting joints and such on that support allowing for a telescoping tower you would greatly increase the cost and still need a crane to attach the rotors. you can be certain if it were possible to put these things up without a crane they would be doing it.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 15 2007 9:22 utc | 10

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