German polymer company Covestro has manufactured the first polyurethane rotor blade for wind turbines in Asia.
The 37.5 metre-long rotor blade is designed for a wind turbine with an output of 1.5 MW. It was fabricated with a special polyurethane infusion resin from Covestro and glass fibre mats from Chongqing Polycomp International, a Chinese glass fibre manufacturer at the Shanghai FRP Research Institute.
A vacuum pressure infusion system with continuous degassing, developed by process technology company HàƒÅ“BERS, was used to produce the rotor blade.
Kim Klausen, global head of Covestro’s wind energy programme, said the milestone is “further proof of the performance and cost advantages of polyurethanes over epoxy resins in wind power generation”.
Covestro says the polyurethane resin has “very good physical properties, an excellent flowability and it thoroughly wets the glass fibers. Furthermore, less thermal energy is released during its processing than with epoxy resins.”
“The faster curing significantly improves productivity,” added Klausen, “and that gives manufacturers a major cost advantage.”
The resin was developed in a collaboration between the Covestro Wind Competence Centre in Denmark and the Polymer Research Development Center (PRDC) of Covestro in Shanghai.
At the recent China Summit Forum 2016 for International Wind Power Composite Materials in Zhejiang, Dr. Roland Stoer, general manager of WINDnovation, a leading rotor blade design company, said about the use of polyurethane: “We would like to optimize rotor blade design and take full advantage of the benefits of polyurethanes. We are impressed by Covestro’s research capability and commitment, and would like to cooperate with the company to design even more sophisticated rotor blades in the future.”