The role of advanced polymers in the wind energy production cycleIn August 2020, a project for the use of advanced polymers in the renewable energy chain was implemented. Goldwind, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, has used Covestro's new patented direct infusion machine to make 64.2-meter long polyurethane turbine blades. Due to its availability throughout the planet, the energy produced by the wind is becoming the most interesting and promising energy source. Technological research is focusing heavily on wind power both in terms of investments and innovative solutions. The main goal is to cut costs and improve efficiency. In a nutshell, making this renewable energy truly advantageous compared to traditional energy resources. The new polymeric materials can give a decisive push towards sustainability by bringing wind power to competitive costs for the production and duration of all its components.
Wind turbines made with a new method of infusion of polyurethane resin
The blades used in the production of energy with the wind are subjected to considerable environmental and structural stress. They can be built in aluminum, but more frequently the composite material consisting of glass fibre and epoxy resins is used.
The Covestro laboratories in collaboration with WINDnovation engineers, experts in wind turbines, have evaluated the advantages of using polyurethane as a matrix in composite laminates for wind rotors. The aim of the research was aimed at defining materials that gave:
- increased blade speed through the correct combination of weight, length and mechanical strength
- advantageous production times and costs, with the reduction of the raw material used and the decrease in the infusion and cross-linking times. These two aspects can have a decisive influence on the LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Electricity) index, which compares the total costs of different energy generation methods, and makes wind power very advantageous both for fossil-based energies and others greener.