international association for shell and spatial structures

Working Group 3: Technical Expert Group on Shell Structures for Energy Supply


1. To initiate research activities in the fields of efficiency, reliability and durability of steel and concrete cooling towers and comparable structures for Energy Supply, such as:
  • natural draught cooling towers in wet- and in dry-cooling-systems
  • natural draught cooling towers in dry-cooling-systems
  • fan-assisted and hybrid cooling towers
  • updraft towers of solar thermal power plants
  • towers for wind energy converters and solar towers
  • silos and tank structures for storage of liquids and refrigerated, liquefied gases

2. To gather experts from universities, power plant operators, technology companies, building companies and engineering consultancies in the respective issue from all over the world..
3. To improve the standards and recommendations for design, construction, quality management, maintenance, repair and strengthening in the respective issue.
4. To organize international symposia and sessions on shell structures for energy supply, either with overall or with specific topics.


Much of the recent activity of WG 3 has related to vgbe energy e.V., abbreviated vgbe, the European technical association for electricity and heat generation. vgbe is divided into Competence Centers for

  • wind energy systems
  • water energy systems
  • nuclear power plants
  • fossil-fired thermal power plants
  • future energy systems

vgbe is an association of companies, who focusses on power plant operation and related technologies. Currently in total 419 members, comprising operators, manufacturers and institutions connected with energy engineering, are organized in VGB.  They come from 32 countries worldwide and represent an installed power plant capacity of 290,000 MW. The tasks are to utilize international experience and bundle it in vgbe standards and guidelines, for example for the Structural Design of Cooling Towers. The headquater of vgbe is located in Essen/Germany.

Furtheron, a close co-operation of WG 3 to CICIND - the International Committee on Industrial Construction has been improved in recent years. CICIND was registered in Zurich/Switzerland and represents 190 members from 41 countries. CICIND is doing active research and development work in many fields in civil construction and in industrial and energy engineering.

Current Objectives

  1. To extend WG3 to a larger group of engineers, especially outside of Europe.
  2. To evaluate new editions of guidelines within vgbe energy association.
  3. To co-operate with the International Association for Industrial Constructions CICIND in the design and construction of all kinds of industrail buildings like chimneys, cooling towers, silos, tanks, solar towers.
  4. Participation in the 98th CICIND Conference in Florence, Italy, May 17-20, 2023.
  5. Cause of the still critical pandemic situation in China in autumn 2022, the Organizing Committee of ICCT2023 decided 2022 to cancel the planned International Conference on Industrial Construction and Cooling Towers ICCT2023 in Shanghai, China, which originally had been scheduled for October 18-20, 2023.

Recent Conference Activities

  • Organization of a joint International Conference on Industrial Construction and Cooling Towers ICCT2019 in Edinburgh, UK, Oct 9-12, 2019, which was jointly organized by CICIND, the International Association for Industrial Constructions, VGB PowerTech, the Technical Association for Power and Heat Generation and IASS WG 03 in co-operation with Zenith SAS, Midlothian, Scotland.
  • Publication of new editions of vgbe standard VGB-S 610: Structural Design of Cooling Towers (English edition eBook published Dec 20, 2019 ISBN 978-3-96284-146-1).
  • Participation in the 93rd Virtual CICIND Conference in Wuppertal, Germany, October 15-16, 2020.
  • Participation in the 94th Virtual CICIND Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, May 20-21, 2021.
  • Participation in the 95th CICIND Conference in Dresden, Germany, October 20-23, 2021.


All current members of the Working Group are members of the IASS. The Working Group welcomes additional members who have an interest in the mission and objectives of the group; those IASS members interested should please contact one of the Chairs of the Working Group (Find e-mail addresses in the IASS Directory by logging in).

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reinhard HARTE (Chair) - Germany
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Arndt Goldack (Co-Chair) - Germany
  • Prof. Lin Zhao PhD (Co-Chair) - China

Further Information for IASS Members

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