Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

International Symposium on Life Cycle Assessment and Construction, 10 -12 July2012, Nantes, France.


Given the need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the production of electricity, countries worldwide are trying to develop and implement different energy saving strategies and technologies to mitigate global warming. A core part of achieving this is the development and implementation of renewable energy technologies such as wind.

This has resulted in the development and innovation of wind turbines with output ranges of 10-15MW likely to be deployed by 2020. This increased output has a knock on effect on the growth of rotor diameters and tower heights requiring the wind turbine system to be assessed from an economic, environmental and structural performance viewpoint. This has led to the proposal of using concrete as an alternative to the current preference of steel for wind turbine towers due to a number of limiting issues.

Thus, the main focus of this paper is to investigate and compare the life cycle emissions (LCE) of GHG of concrete relative to steel as a tower solution in order to identify a solution for both onshore and offshore facilities. The main findings indicated that the LCE for a wind turbine with a concrete tower range between 4-9% lower than its equivalent steel solution over a 40 year life cycle.



Fiosraigh Dean of Graduate Student’s Award 2011