Bahrain to get world’s first wind-powered skyscrapers

Three contractors compete for specialised turbine lifting contract at the World Trade Centre

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By  Sean Cronin Published  September 17, 2005

The twin towers of the Bahrain World Trade Centre are set to become the world’s first wind-powered skyscrapers. Three turbines, each supported by a 32m bridge will be connected to generators which will feed power to the building. According to project sources, tenders have already been sent out for the erection of the steel bridges and three specialist heavy lift companies are in the frame, including Saudi-based Almajdouie Group and Sarens of the Netherlands. The turbine supply contract has already been awarded to Norwin of Denmark. The cost of fabricating and erecting the bridges and turbines will be around US $2.7 million. Each of the 32m bridges weigh around 50 tonnes, which means that lifting them into place will be a significant challenge for the site team. Main contractor Nass Murray & Roberts will either use an 800- tonne mobile crane for the lift, or instead opt for a cheaper strand-jacking system to hoist the bridges into position. Construction manager Barend de Klerk, said: “The bridges have been designed to accommodate lateral movement due to the wind pressures acting on the turbines, as well as the differential movement as a result of the enormous differences in daytime and night-time temperatures, which causes expansion in the steel. The project has been at the centre of several design changes in recent months with project architect WS Atkins originally planning to install three turbines, then considering the installation of a single turbine, before reverting to the original option. WS Atkins architect Sean Killa says that the “wing” profile of the towers will channel the airflow through the turbines, improving their function and energy generation output. He said: “Atkins architecture for the Bahrain World Trade Centre focused on providing an elegant and easily recognisable form for Bahrain’s key international business institution, combined with a clear statement that developments which embrace solutions for conserving energy and the environment can be commercially sustainable.” The building has been designed to create an ‘S’ flow, which means that the centre of the wind pattern is always perpendicular to the turbine within this range. This widens the operational time of producing power, as well as reducing fatigue on the blades. But the incorporation of the bridges into the design of the Bahrain World Trade Centre may have more of an aesthetic impact than an environmental one as the turbines are only likely to provide 10% to 20% of the building’s power needs. Construction started in June 2004 and is scheduled for completion in Summer 2006.

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