Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- Bayer MaterialScience llc has developed a new polyurethane-based composite technology for wind-turbine blades, which has been recognised by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the company said in a 7 Dec news release.
The DOE invited Bayer to display a prototype wind-turbine blade root ring - the ring that wraps around the base of the blade where it is fastened to the wind turbine blade shaft - at the recent American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Off-Shore Windpower conference and exhibition in Baltimore, Maryland.
A development team led by Bayer found polyurethane chemistry to dramatically improve fatigue and fracture toughness properties over epoxy-based systems used commercially today, BMS said in the statement.
The development was funded by Bayer, the DOE and Molded Fiber Glass Companies, Inc. in a public/private sector partnership.
"It's gratifying for our development to be highlighted, particularly in light of the many wind technology projects funded by the DOE's energy efficiency and renewable energy programme in the past year," said Mike Gallagher, director, Public Sector Business, Bayer.
Bayer said the DOE saw value in the company's proposal to develop materials that allow blades to be lighter, stronger and longer.
A key property for wind turbine blades is the inter-laminar fracture toughness. The incorporation of carbon nanotube reinforcement technology into the polyurethane composites improved the fracture toughness by as much as 48 percent, Bayer claimed, adding that this is double the fracture toughness of epoxy.
Bayer said it is working to expand this work to manufacture, test and certify full-scale prototype blades in collaboration with wind industry experts.