IACMI unveils nine-meter wind turbine blade

A large team of 11 industrial partners provided materials and on-site fabrication support for blade component manufacturing and assembly.

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI, Knoxville, Tenn.) showcased a nine-meter long wind blade prototype during the Winter IACMI members meeting Feb. 1-2 in Denver. The nine-meter long blade was fabricated at IACMI’s Wind Technology Area in the Denver area. IACMI says that commercialization of the wind blade prototype created could speed production times, reduce manufacture cost and provide stronger, more energy-efficient blades for the United States.  

A large team of 11 industrial partners, including Arkema Inc., Johns Manville, TPI Composites Inc., Huntsman Polyurethanes, Strongwell, DowAksa USA, Chomarat North America, Composites One, SikaAxson US, Creative Foam and Chem-Trend, provided materials and on-site fabrication support for blade component manufacturing and assembly. Pultruded spar caps were fabricated at Strongwell in Bristol and shipped to Colorado for incorporation into the blade shells.).

The prototype blade is based on an existing design from previous work conducted by the DOE, representing a small-scale version of a utility-scale multi-megawatt blade. The new blade, molded on tooling supplied by TPI Composites Inc., features innovations such as impact resistant components, continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic parts and exterior shell components produced with less than half the normal CO2 emissions commonly emitted in wind blade manufacture.

“These innovations can be deployed in the near term in existing blade manufacturing plants,” says Derek Berry, IACMI’s wind technology area director. “The ability to infuse at room temperature, demold more quickly, and avoid post cure, plus use of low-cost carbon fiber spar caps produced via high speed pultrusion, all contribute to reductions in the levelized cost of energy, the key measure of wind turbine efficiency.”

The project was led by IACMI’s Wind Technology Area, based in the Denver area, with support from IACMI Headquarters, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and the Advanced Industries Program administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Trade and Development (OEDIT).