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Wind energy

Doubled power output with longer rotor blades

Industry

Many developed countries with scarce to none coal, oil, and gas resources explore the prospects of wind energy. It is one of the most promising and fastest growing markets for carbon fiber.

Carbon composites are mainly used there to make rotor blades for wind turbines.

Power generation at a wind speed of just 5 m/s.

Advantages of carbon composites

Carbon composites reduce the weight of the structures by up to 30% as compared to metal composites.

Wind power stations can be built in the locations with the average annual wind speeds of 5 m/s and less due to the aeroelasticity and light weight of carbon fiber composite blades in their wind turbines.

  • Weight
  • High strength
  • High fatigue performance

Advantages of carbon fiber composites over glass fiber composites in wind power generation


Six times more resilient


Several times higher fatigue strength under dynamic stresses


Lower density by 50%


Carbon fiber versus other materials

Fiber type




Tensile strength, MPa Tensile modulus, GPa Elongation at break, % Density, g/cm3
Carbon fiber made of PAN precursor high strength, standard modulus 3500-5000 200-280 1.4-2.0 1.75-1.80
high strength, intermediate modulus 4500-7000 280-325 1.7-2.1 1.73-1.81
high modulus 3500-5000 325-450 0.7-1.4 1.75-1.85
ultra high modulus 2500-4000 450-600 0.7-1.0 1.85-1.95
Glass E-glass 2500-3800 70-75 4.5-4.7 2.5-2.7
S-glass 4000-4500 80-90 5.0-5.3 2.5
Organic Aramid 3000-3600 60-180 2.4-3.6 1.45
Polyethylene 200-3000 5-170 3-80 0.96
Steel high strength 1200-2800 200 3.5 7.8
stainless 800-2000 190 3.0 7.8
Basalt 3000-4800 90-110 3.0 2.6-2.8
Boron 3500-4000 350-400 0.5-0.7 2.6

Applications


Carbon fiber composites reduce weight, extend life, and improve strength of the end products.

Intricate and large parts can be designed to have hard metal inserts. Wind power stations with rotor blades longer than 40 meters provide the highest power output. Blades of that length can only be made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

Experience

The largest rotor blade for a wind turbine ever built was longer than 80 meters.

That design increased power output from 6 MW to 10 MW. Blade Dynamics is now researching production of 100-meter long rotor blades for wind turbines.

Carbon composites of equal strength are 30% lighter than metal composites.
Carbon composites of equal strength are 30% lighter than metal composites.
A carbon fiber blade is 40% lighter than a glass fiber blade.
A carbon fiber blade is 40% lighter than a glass fiber blade.

Summary


Wind is a promising alternative source of clean energy.
Opportunities are opening up for development of the carbon fiber composite market since the material is widely used for production of rotor blades and elements of wind turbines.