The welding OEM demonstrates its commitment to renewable energy by constructing a $5.9 million 2.5 MW wind tower at its world headquarters in Cleveland, OH, that will generate up to 10 percent of the energy used for its main plant and save up to $500,000 a year in energy costs.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted the festivities and dedication of one of the largest urban wind towers in North America, a giant landmark that is expected to save $500,000 a year in energy costs and generate up to 10 percent of the electricity used by the main manufacturing plant of the Lincoln Electric Company (Cleveland, OH), a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, welding fume control systems, and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment.
Lincoln Electric has long been a major supplier to the wind tower fabrication industry. But this year, the OEM stepped further into the world of renewable energy by building its own wind tower on the grounds of its world headquarters and manufacturing campus in Euclid, just east of downtown Cleveland. The mammoth tower measures 443 ft tall from its base to the tip of its blades, making it nearly as tall as a 45-story building. Its 2.5 MW Kennersys® K100 turbine can produce enough energy to power 686 homes.
Several presentations made by company executives and local officials during the ceremony captured the importance of this new landmark, not just for the company, but for the entire Cleveland community.
“This tower represents important cost savings, as well as our commitment to integrating renewable energy sources, among other ongoing green initiatives, into our manufacturing processes,” said George Blankenship, the president of Lincoln Electric North America. “It stands as a visible symbol of our commitment to the wind tower industry by showcasing the benefits our welding solutions offer to a prominent, fast-growing business segment. I’m very proud of the hard work of the members of our internal team. We took the project on as a challenge. We are a can-do organization and always look for creative solutions.”
John Stropki, the president and CEO of the Lincoln Electric Company, pointed out how the wind tower symbolizes the company’s forward-looking commitment to new technology and the future by remaining true to a quote from Lincoln Electric founder John C. Lincoln, who said “The actual is limited, but the possible is immense!”
Ed Fizgerald, the county executive of Cuyahoga County, congratulated the company on the tower and reminded the audience that Ohio now ranks second in the nation in wind tower manufacturing potential. A portion of funding for the project came from a $350,000 loan from Cuyahoga County. Euclid mayor Bill Cervenik thanked all of the public and private parties involved in this project, which evolved out of a strategic partnership between Lincoln Electric and the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force.
Aimed at creating a viable market for renewable energy in Northeast Ohio, the Task Force is a successful model of private/public collaboration. Its members include the Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Fund for Our Economic Future through Nortech, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Generation Foundation.
Another $1.125 million in funds for the project came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 via a State Energy Program Grant from the Ohio Department of Development and the U.S. Department of Energy. Lincoln Electric funded the remainder of the cost, however, the company credits the assistance of the local, state and federal governments with making this landmark project a reality.
The physical location of tower is on the southeast corner of Lincoln Electric World Headquarters campus at East 222nd Street and St. Clair Avenue in Euclid, 1.7 miles south of Lake Erie shoreline. Components for the tubular steel tower were manufactured in Nebraska, Germany and Poland. The entire structure was assembled onsite in three days.
The size alone of this wind tower is quite impressive. The structure is composed of four tower sections that are welded steel construction:
- The bottom section is 38 ft tall and weighs more than 141,500 lb
- The lower-mid section is 68.5 ft tall and weighs more than 126,000 lb
- The upper-mid section is 78 ft tall and weighs more than 93,800 lb
- The upper section is tapered, measures 81.5 ft tall and weighs more than 73,700 lb
- A total of 624 bolts secure the tower components, with 240 bolts measuring 1-7/8 in diameter and 384 bolts measuring 1-3/8 in
The overall structure measures 443 ft tall from the tower base to the tip of the blade. Its diameter is 14.1 ft at the base and 10.2 ft at the top of upper section. It features three blades, each measuring 164 ft from the center of the hub to the blade tip and 328 ft in diameter. The swept area of the blades is 1.5 times larger than a football field. The wind operating speed is 6.5 mph to 56 mph, depending on weather conditions.
Measuring 12 ft high by 13 ft wide by 35 ft long, the nacelle that houses the tower electronics is the size of a single car garage and weighs more than 198,000 lb. The overall weight of the tower, including the nacelle and the hub, is more than 800,000 lb.
Roughly 2,800 cu yd of earth were excavated to 14 ft below grade for the base construction. The octagonal gravity foundation base and pedestal measures 56 ft wide and contains 65 tons of reinforced steel rebar and 595 cubic yd of concrete, enough for a 4 ft sidewalk measuring 4 in thick and spanning 2.5 miles.
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