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Feasibility Study for a Breakthrough Core System to Enable Fault Tolerant Manufacture of High Performances Composites Wind Blades

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KORIDION (Feasibility Study for a Breakthrough Core System to Enable Fault Tolerant Manufacture of High Performances Composites Wind Blades)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-02-29

THURCKON is an Italian SME operating since 2000 in the sector of chemical auxiliaries, polymers, coatings and specialty materials for different industrial sectors. THURCKON, in the framework of a R&D partnership, developed a self-expanding, thermoplastic, acrylic-based polymer named KORIDION. The related IPR is protected with a patent owned by the UK company TRYONIC, THURCKON having the exclusive rights for its exploitation into new products, formalized through a joint development agreement. This study was focused on the evaluation of the feasibility of the use of KORIDION material for the production of high performance composite materials wind blades.
Within the project, both technical and economic analyses have been performed. The first activities focused on the analysis of the wind blades sector from a technological point of view. In particular, the main wind blades manufacturing processes and design have been reviewed, highlighting the main technological key drivers through a dedicated patent analysis. The study also highlights the main technical criticalities and needs of wind blades.
In addition, the KORIDION material has been described highlighting the advantages of its use in the manufacturing of composite wind blades. Moreover, a preliminary evaluation of the environmental impacts associated to KORIDION process has been performed in order to validate the environmental sustainability of such innovative technology.
Further activities focused on the analysis of the wind energy market for the identification of market trends, forecast and main needs and challenges of the sector players. A Porter's five forces analysis has been done to analyze the level of competition within the target market. A preliminary business model has been also developed.
The feasibility study confirms the key advantages of the KORIDION technology well beyond the state of the art in composite wind blades manufacturing:
• Simplicity: KORIDION material allows the implementation of a conceptually simple composite manufacturing process
• Reliability: thanks to a process that assures repeatable performances guaranteed by simple inspection means
• Reduced Cost of Energy: in accordance with energy sector growing needs. This is possible thanks to a reduction of CAPEX (for example no more autoclaves would be needed, pressure is guaranteed by KORIDION expansion properties), and a reduction of OPEX (as will be explained further first of all with the elimination of complex parts, such as spars, where expensive materials like carbon fiber reinforcements are needed; moreover thanks to process automation possibilities, elimination of joining processes, etc.).

Thurckon expects to have a positive impact in terms of company growing thanks to this project. In particular, Thurckon expect to hire at least 4 people in 3 years after the project end.

In addition, considering social aspects, KORIDION project will impact positively on environmental aspect thanks to the energy saving for the production (thanks to the new process) and functioning (thanks to the increasing of lightness, robustness and durability) of composite wind blades.