New consortium seeks to develop recyclable wind blades

The European group, called WALiD, will introduce thermoplastic materials in an integrated approach.

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Smithers Rapra (Shropshire, U.K.), a subsidiary of U.S.-based independent testing, consulting and contract research organization The Smithers Group, has joined an eleven-strong consortium that has secured €3,964,797 of EU funding to create cost-efficient, lightweight and recyclable blades.

The four-year project, called WALiD (Wind Blade Using Cost-Effective Advanced Composite Light-Weight Design), is part-funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme and proposes to combine process, material and design innovations in an integrated approach. Its key innovation is the introduction of thermoplastic composite materials and processes into wind blade for large offshore wind turbine installations. These materials will replace thermoset-based materials in the root, tip, shell core and shear web, which will lead to new designs of blade root, connection concepts and tips leading to substantial weight savings; replacement of the shell core with thermoplastic foams to enable faster processing via automated processes; improved design of the shear web leading to further weight saving; development of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic coating with enhanced durability. It is expected that the technology developed within the WALiD project will lead to the production of highly durable blades that are able to withstand challenging environmental offshore conditions.

The WALiD consortium, which will commit a total of €5.1 million to the project, is comprised of eleven European organisations including the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) and Windrad Engineering GmbH from Germany, Smithers Rapra and Smithers Pira Ltd from the U.K., TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, PPG Industries Fibre Glass BV and NEN from Netherlands, APT Archimedes Polymer Technologies from Cyprus, Norner AS from Norway, Comfil ApS from Denmark, and Loiretech SAS and Coriolis Composites SAS from France.

For more information on the WALiD project, please contact Suzanne Wilkinson, tel: +44 1939 250383 or swilkinson@rapra.net or visit the website at http://www.eu-walid.com/.