The Application of Bio-based Composites in Wind Turbine Blades

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Wind energy is a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuel sources. Improvements are
    constantly being made to maximize turbine efficiency, which is only increasing wind’s potential
    to be viable on a large-scale. Blades must be constructed using low density materials with high
    stiffness. To meet this criteria manufacturers gravitate towards composite materials to achieve
    the necessary mechanical properties. Composites are simply two or more materials combined
    and they are advantageous in their ability to provide superior mechanical properties than each
    material would individually. In a wind turbine blade, the class of composites used are fiber
    reinforced composites (FRC) which consist of long fibers embedded in a resin matrix. The
    materials of choice for FRC turbine blades are often synthetic glass fibers set in epoxy resins
    due to their ability to perform well at relatively low cost. However, synthetic materials are not
    readily biodegradable and the thermoset nature of the composite blades make recycling
    challenging. The use of bio-based composites opposed to the current synthetic materials in
    wind turbine blades could mitigate the issues that come with end of life disposal while still
    providing composite strength. Fully biodegradable blades could allow for improvement in the
    sustainability of wind turbines. The mechanical properties, design and feasibility of bio-based
    composite wind turbine blades are explored. The findings suggest that many fibers such as jute,
    hemp and flax could perform similar to synthetic glass fibers with several modifications and
    bio-based resins also demonstrate good properties in comparison to traditional epoxies.

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  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Poster
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International