Wind Power and Epoxy Resin, what do they have in common?

In the race to harness Wind Power – Epoxy Resin Plays a Large Role in Blade manufacturing…

Alternative Energy; renewable energy sources include wave energy, biofuels, natural gas, geothermal power, hydrogen gas, and of course, wind energy. The Renewable Resources Coalition lists eleven different primary sources that have led to “the rise of a number of alternative energy sources. While the viability of each can be argued, they all contribute something positive when compared to fossil fuels. Lower emissions, lower fuel prices and the reduction of pollution are all advantages that the use of alternative fuels can often provide.”

The US Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office invests in the science and research and development of advancing innovative materials and technologies for US wind system development and deployment. The office also assesses ongoing market barriers and environmental impacts as well as ensuring the efficiency and reliability of wind energy systems. (See the office’s ten wind power facts below.)

With over 200 wind energy projects currently in development across the country; the technology used in the manufacturing of these systems continues to evolve. Wind turbine blade materials and creation in particular; “as blade making has migrated toward processes that minimize cycle time and reduce both cost and the probability of defects,” according to Wind Systems Magazine.

“Early blade building techniques grew out of the boat building industry, using processes that were high in labor and prone to inconsistencies and defects. Technology further enhanced blade performance by combining resins and reinforcements in a more rigorously controlled manner before placement in the blade mold. Resin technology has expanded somewhat to include both polyester and epoxy resin on a broad scale.”

Ten Wind Power Facts:

  • Humans have harnessed wind power for hundreds of years - early windmills were used to crush grain or pump water
  • Today's wind turbines are complicated machines with over 8,000 parts
  • Wind turbine blades average over 180 feet in length with towers 280 feet high - about the height of the Statue of Liberty
  • Higher wind speed means more electricity generated
  • Most of the components of US wind turbines are made here
  • Offshore wind can provide power to coastal cities
  • Utility-scale wind facilities are now installed in 41 states
  • In 2017, US wind power capacity was nearly 89 megawatts - the largest renewable energy generation capability in the US - enough to power 24 million average American homes
  • Wind power continues to become more efficient & affordable
  • Wind energy provides more than 10% of total electricity generation in 14 states - and more than 30% in four states

As wind turbine blades have increased in size, lightweight epoxy resin polymers have been brought to bear due to their strength and structural integrity. Blade manufacturers around the globe have turned to this composite both for the creation of new blades, as well as the repair and maintenance of existing installations. Those of us in the epoxy resin business are proud to be part of the role of resin composites in the renewable energy industry.