WALiD will combine design, material and process developments using thermoplastic materials to create cost-efficient, lightweight and recyclable blades which will be demonstrated by industrial end-users. The power generated by off-shore wind turbines is proportional to the rotor plane area of the blade. However, the weight of large blades puts the materials used under considerable strain, leading to shorter operational life. Off-shore wind turbines operate under harsh conditions e.g. extreme temperatures, humidity & salt conditions. Despite these critical technical requirements for strength and stability, the materials must be cost-efficient and recyclable. The key innovation in WALiD is the introduction of thermoplastic composite materials and processing into wind blade applications. These materials can replace thermoset-based materials in the root, tip and shear web, leading to the following advantages:
1. Improved design of blade root, connection concept and tip: strain analysis on the blade will enable high-performance thermoplastic composites to replace thermosetting components, saving costs and weight.
2. Replacement of the shell core with thermoplastic foam materials: the density of the core material can be modified to the specific load, optimizing the weight/stability profile. Further cost and weight savings will result from processing (elimination of cutting process, no infiltration of resin into empty spaces).
3. Improved modular concept of shear web design: replacement of thermosets by thermoplastic composite structures to ensure lightweight, load-optimized design.
4. Development of fibre-reinforced thermoplastic coating, improving environmental resistance, anti-icing properties and durability against abrasion combined with a new predictive simulation model.
Strong industrial participation (74% of the project budget) with an accompanying unfunded Industrial Exploitation Board will ensure the commercial relevance and exploitation of these developments.
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