COMPOSITES IN THE RENEWABLE ENERGY INDUSTRY
During the last decades, wind power energy has become mainstream and proved to be an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. The advent of bigger and more efficient turbines allowed for the rapid expansion of this energy source. However, as always, enhanced technologies present engineers with new challenges. Think about it: wind turbine blades have complex shapes and enormous sizes, thus, lightweight engineering is a must! And, as you can imagine, composite materials can help with that. Fiber-reinforced plastics possess a unique set of properties, which were responsible to make them a leader in this sector, such as very high strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios, good fatigue resistance, corrosion resistance, great damage resistance, and high static strength. In an industry that utilizes molds that are engineered manufacture blades with minimal labor, composites are an obvious choice. But how big can wind turbine blades get? The answer is: we still don’t know! Recently, the company Vestas has unveiled a 15-MW offshore wind turbine with record-breaking 115.5-meter-long blades! Vestas says each turbine could generate enough power for 20,000 households a year, improve wind energy production to around 80 gigawatt-hours per year and save more than 38,000 tonnes of CO2!
Nowadays, wind turbine blades are mostly composed of fiberglass-reinforced polyester, however, carbon fiber and epoxy resin usage are growing considerably. According to Market Data Forecast, the global wind turbine composites market was valued at US$ 7.3 billion in 2020 and is predicted to reach US$ 12.3 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 9.5% between 2020 and 2025.
We currently have an addiction to fossil fuels and a responsibility to push to a renewable age.
The fossil fuel age is finite and its purpose is to use this time to move to a clean sustainable source of energy.
The switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energies such as wind and solar is inevitable
SERVICES FOR SECTOR
Positions this year have included
Bio-Composite research engineer
Solar PV engineers
Renewable Energy Analyst
Grid connection managers
The Composite Engineer
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