ÉireComposites is involved in production and R&D in the rapidly-growing area of wind-energy, specifically in thermoplastic composite wind turbine blades and nacelles.
The company is producing glass-fibre reinforced polypropylene (Twintex®) thermoplastic wind turbine blades for 15kW and 6kW machines. GF/PP is an extremely tough, lightweight composite and provides for quiet and durable production of electricity from wind.
ÉireComposites long experience of production of thermoplastic composites enables the production of hollow blades, with no glueing, bonding or welding operations. The company's patented MechTool tooling systemcan be used for rapid and cost-effective production of these blades.
Research and Development -GreenBlade Project
ÉireComposites is leading a significant R&D project to develop large wind turbine blades made from liquid-moulded thermoplastics. The purpose of the GreenBlade project is to develop vacuum-processing of large-scale thermoplastic composite wind turbine blades with the advantages of:
A two-thirds decrease in manufacturing time for large blades over existing thermoset composites technology
Significant reduction in cost of manufacturing blades
A recyclable wind turbine blade at end of life
Recycling possible of manufacturing waste / cut-offs
Zero emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds into the workplace
The GreenBlade project is being led by ÉireComposites (through its subsidiary company, Eire Composites Teo.) with partners Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (www.mhi.co.jp ), Ahlstrom Glassfibre (www.ahlstrom.com ) and Cyclics Corporation (www.cyclics.com ). Partial funding is being provided by Sustainable Energy Ireland (www.sei.ie).
The current phase of the GreenBlade project is to develop a 12.6 metre long demonstration blade in thermoplastic composites. The project involves design of the blade, development of tooling, characterization of materials, manufacturing of the blade and testing of the blade. Further phases in the project will involve the development and certification of full-scale thermoplastic composite blades.
See section on Thermoplastics Composites Explained for more information on thermoplastic composites.
Building of 12.6 metre blade pattern
Finishing of 12.6 metre blade pattern
Vacuum processing of glass-fibre reinforced
Finite element analysis plot of stresses in bending of blade