ACG wins role in wind, gas turbine development projects

Advanced Composites Group (ACG) has won a role in a British program that aims to develop composite materials for tidal and gas turbine manufacture.

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Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, U.K.), part of the Composites Division of Umeco plc, announced on Sept. 29 that it will play a major role in two research and development projects into turbine generators that could have significant impacts on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions. The projects are worth more than £2 million/$3.6 million.

The first project focuses on improving processes used to manufacture components for tidal turbine generators and improving overall operating efficiencies; the second project is to develop composite materials for power generating gas turbine applications.

Nigel Blatherwick, ACG commercial director, stated: “ACG is proud to be involved in these exciting and challenging research projects and to apply its expertise in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of emerging power generation programs.” Furthermore, “in addition to our recent, successful recruitment drive and significant increase in operating profit, the Group continues to look to the future and is likely to offer further rewarding employment opportunities for the region in its drive to become ‘a world class composites solution provider.’”

As the Lead Partner in a project examining "New Materials and Methods for Energy Efficient Tidal Turbines" (NEW-MMEETT), ACG and its partners will investigate optimizing energy efficiency and return on investment. This will be achieved through the development of new carbon and glass fiber-reinforced resin systems optimized to counter fatigue effects, which will then allow for reductions in the design allowables and, with the application of state-of-the-art aerospace technologies, to the design of more efficient tidal turbines. Aviation Enterprises Ltd., Materials Engineering Research Laboratory Ltd. and the University of Bristol, all prominent industrial leaders in their own right, are partnering with ACG in this venture.

The second project, which will be led by Rolls-Royce plc, with ACG, Swansea University and the University
of Birmingham as joint partners, will focus on the research and development of ‘Advanced Ceramic Matrix Composites for Energy Generating Gas Turbine Applications.’ The project will develop a high-temperature oxide/oxide-ceramic matrix composite for use in power generating gas turbine applications. This will provide a step change in temperature capability, thereby enabling higher operating temperatures, improving engine efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

ACG’s projects are two out of a total of 16 that are to receive investment of more than £10 million/$18 million from the Technology Strategy Board and Engineering and the Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC),  while the estimated total of all the projects currently in planning in the UK is in excess of £20 million/$36 million.