Load-Direction-Derived Support Structures for Wind Turbines: A Lattice Tower Concept and Preparations for Future Certifications: Preprint

Jason Jonkman, Achim Struve, Torsten Faber, Thomas Ummenhofer, Rick Damiani

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The call for more cost-effective and environmentally friendly tower concepts is motivated by tower costs [1] and tower CO2-emission contributions [2], which are high relative to the whole wind turbine system. The proposed rotatable tower concept with yaw bearing at the bottom instead of the top of the tower will provide beneficial economic and environmental impacts to the turbine system. This wind alignment capability indicates a load-direction-derived tower design. By combining this approach with a lattice concept, large material and cost savings for the tower can be achieved. This paper presents a way to analyze and verify the proposed design through aero-servo-elastic simulations, which make future certifications of rotatable tower concepts viable. For this reason, the state-of-the-art, open-source lattice-tower finite-element-method (FEM) module SubDyn [10], developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has been modified to account for arbitrary member cross-sections. Required changes in the beam element stiffness and mass matrix formulation took place according to an energy method [13]. All validated adaptions will be usable within the aero-servo-elastic simulation framework FAST and are also beneficial for other nonrotatable lattice structures.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2017
EventGerman Wind Energy Conference - Bremen, Germany
Duration: 17 Oct 201718 Oct 2017


ConferenceGerman Wind Energy Conference
CityBremen, Germany

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-69110


  • aero-servo-elastic simulation
  • FAST
  • lattice tower
  • rotatable tower
  • SubDyn
  • wind turbine


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