Covestro has delivered its first commercial order of polyurethane resin for wind blades to China. China is the world’s largest wind power market with 221 GW of installed capacity at the end of 2018, according to the World Wind Energy Association. Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT), one of the largest manufacturers of wind blades in China, is producing 18 polyurethane wind blades of 59.5-meter-length. These have been delivered to Envision, a leading global wind turbine technology company. The blades are scheduled to be installed in a wind farm in East China in July 2019.
Covestro has developed polyurethane infusion resin as an alternative to well-established epoxy-based composites. The rotor blades are fabricated from the polyurethane resin and a glass fiber fabric by applying vacuum infusion technology. The use of polyurethane resin instead of conventional epoxy-based composites makes the blade production cycle shorter and less energy intensive. Additionally, the new material has better mechanical properties, for example, a faster curing process and better processing properties to deliver higher productivity levels. The wind blades become lighter, yet longer, but more cost-efficient than those made from conventional materials.
To ensure successful deployment, the Covestro wind power team produced a prototype of the wind blades which has passed static and fatigue tests. The prototype was put into trial operation at a wind farm in central China in 2018.
- Covestro, Leverkusen, Germany
- Envision Energy, Shanghai, China,
- Zhuzhou Times New Material Technology (TMT), Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China