Reducing Cost and Weight of Wind Turbine Blades Using Engineered Core
Small Business Information
Webcore Technologies, Inc.
8821 Washington Church Road, Miamisburg, OH, 45342
AbstractWind energy has the potential of producing over 20% of the U.S. near-term electricity needs. However, reaching this potential will require an expansion of wind-turbine sites from the currently-exploited high-wind sites to lowerÂ¿wind-speed sites. In turn, this expansion will require the development of technologies and manufacturing methods that are effective for both types of sites. A larger wind turbine rotor would provide a candidate solution, if reductions in weight and cost could be achieved. This project will develop a composite engineered core that has the potential to dramatically reduce the weight and cost of large wind turbine blades, while improving key material properties such as shear and fatigue strength. Phase I quantified and demonstrated the benefits of an engineered fiber-reinforced core for general application to large wind turbine blade construction. The benefits compared favorably to currently popular core materials for large blade construction, namely, end-grain balsa and low-density PVC foam. In Phase II, the advanced materials technologies will be applied to the design of new blades and to the replacement of materials in existing blade designs. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The improvements in core design should directly impact construction and maintenance costs associated with wind power generation. Reductions in initial production cost would lower the overall cost of turbine installation and make adaptation to wind power generation more appealing. Increased blade life due to improved mechanical and fatigue properties would lower downtime and maintenance costs for wind power generation facilities. Increased use of wind energy also would lower the nationÂ¿s dependence on fossil fuels and foreign energy sources.
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