An old warehouse on the former Navy base in North Charleston will take another step toward becoming the largest wind turbine drivetrain testing facility in the world tonight when the smaller of the building’s two test rigs will get its foundation.
Beginning around 11 p.m. and continuing through around 7 a.m. Friday, a team of trucks will unload 750 cubic yards of concrete that will form the base of the 7.5 megawatt test rig, according to Clemson University, which will operate the facility.
“You only get one shot to get such a massive pour right,” Matt Hartig, senior project manager at Choate Construction, which has a Mount Pleasant office, said in a statement. “We have to consider environmental conditions, influence from local traffic and any other outside factors that could cause an inconsistent flow of concrete.”
Clemson and its partners received a $45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in November 2009 and then $53 million in public and private matching funds to bankroll the high-profile project, according to the university. Construction began last year and is expected to conclude at the beginning of next year.
The 7.5 megawatt test rig will be operational by the end of this year, and the 15 megawatt test rig will come online next spring.
When completed, the facility will be able to do “full-scale highly accelerated testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines in the 5-megawatt to 15-megawatt range” for placement anywhere in the world, according to Clemson University.