Designing the wind turbines of the future
In order to meet environmental challenges as well as energy needs, global wind power capacity is steadily growing: over one million tons of composites are used every year to manufacture wind turbine blades. However, these blades made of thermoset composites (epoxy or polyester) are not easy to recycle at their end of life stage. To meet this challenge, Arkema has developed Elium®, the first liquid thermoplastic resin using the same process and equipment as thermoset composites, namely infusion.
Wind turbine blades made from Elium® have the advantage of being recyclable, thermoformable and thermoweldable, this latter property helping to limit the use of epoxy glues.
A first 9 meter wind turbine blade has been manufactured from the Elium® thermoplastic resin in the United States jointly with IACMI (Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation).
Initial tests carried out by Arkema have shown that a component made from the Elium® composite features a resistance to fatigue 10 times greater than components made from thermoset composites.
“We have indeed demonstrated the industrial viability of the project. Elium® is today the only thermoplastic that can accommodate the conventional tools and processes used to manufacture turbine blades” explains Michel Glotin, Materials Scientific Director at Arkema.
Another decisive milestone will be reached with the upcoming manufacture of a 25 meter turbine blade as well as the installation and commissioning later this year of a wind turbine fitted with Elium® blades.
A major and renowned player in thermoplastic composite materials, Arkema continues its development work, involving collaboration with many public and private partners around the world.
Arkema | http://www.arkema.com