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Abrasion/Impact Resistant Coatings for Wind Turbine Blade Protection

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0017698
Agency Tracking Number: 240812
Amount: $1,000,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 15a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001795
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-08-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-08-26
Small Business Information
130 North Main Street
Butte, MT 59701-9314
United States
DUNS: 836287680
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Eduard Stefanescu
 (406) 497-5227
Business Contact
 Lawrence Farrar
Phone: (406) 497-5252
Research Institution

In most wind turbine cases, in the absence of maintenance and repair the polymer composite blades’ service life can be significantly diminished compared to original estimates, and the overall turbine efficiency can severely suffer. Current repair products such as epoxy-based fillers and/or solvent-based paints have very limited abrasion-resistancecapabilities. In addition, wind protection tapes cannot be applied over chipped and damaged leading/trailing edges and have poor adhesion capabilities. This Small Business proposes to develop a novel, tough and durable thermoplastic powder-coating material for wear protection of wind turbine blades. The technical feasibility of the proposed coating was successfully demonstrated in Phase I. In rain-erosion and sand-erosion tests conducted in-house the proposed thermoplastic coating significantly outperformed two commercial benchmark coatings and one commercial benchmark paint currently employed in leading edge erosion. Rain erosion tests conducted on the proposed coating at a third party laboratory also produced excellent results. Finally, the proposed coating was successfully thermally-deposited over the leading edge of an 8.3m long wind turbine blade. The coating materials developed in the Phase I study will be further matured in Phase II. The Phase I work plan has seven main technical tasks: 1) Establish project performance goals, 2) Further mature Phase I coating, 3) Laboratory evaluation and testing, 4) Evaluate technology on scale parts, 5) Powder manufacturing process, 6) System demonstration to interested parties, and 7) Transition plan for product launch. At the conclusion of the Phase II effort, the Small Business will have a novel newly developed polymer thermal spray coating ready to be marketed to the wind industry. This coating will be an integral part of the application system that has been fully characterized and is poised for commercialization. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Ongoing discussions with a major worldwide wind turbine provider have emphasized the significant abrasion problems caused by heavy rain and sustained winds to the leading edge of wind turbine blades and have highlighted the critical need for abrasion protection of such blades. This established relationship makes this major worldwide wind turbine provider an ideal starting point in the search for business partners to substantiate commercialization efforts.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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