Meet our tree-inspired wind power foundation made through steel origami

This week, we unveiled a new design concept for the foundation of wind turbines, which could reduce the CO2 emissions generated during the construction of onshore turbines by as much as 80%.


The innovative new foundation design involves creating a series of long, curved beams out of recycled steel; and anchoring them to the ground in a design that mimics the way a tree's roots bury into soil.

STILFOLD estimates the method could significantly reduce the environmental impact of building wind turbines, by omitting the use of concrete and optimising how foundations are transported and constructed on site to minimise their environmental footprint.

The Climate Performance Potential over the next 5 years is 8.8 megatonnes that equals 25% of annual total CO2 emissions for Sweden.

How the STILFOLD foundation works

STILFOLD’s pioneering wind turbine design involves cutting several long triangular pieces of steel from a large flat sheet; and folding each piece down the centre to create a series of tall, tent-shaped three-dimensional beams.

Each beam would be designed and constructed according to site-specific conditions following a ground scan, using STILFOLD’s patented computer-guided software and “industrial origami” manufacturing technology. The technology involves the use of robotic arms to fold steel over curves to form light, strong and sustainable new structures with minimal component parts.

The triangular beams would be placed side-by-side and twisted together (similar to a piece of rope), before being bonded to form a tall, strong and durable foundation that curves outwards at the bottom like a root structure.

The bottom of each of the beams would be anchored to the ground individually for improved stability, mimicking the roots of a tree.

The design provides a robust, adaptable structure suitable for various ground conditions; and could also be adapted to construct the foundation of other outdoor structures such as buildings and bridges.

STILFOLD will be working with European partners to commercialize the design this year.

STILFOLD’s sustainable manufacturing technology has many potential applications. It is currently being used to build a fleet of sustainable steel electric motorbikes through sister company STILRIDE. The firm is also working with Polestar to build the world’s first climate-neutral car.


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