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Development of a large rotor blade with new fibre composites



The main objective of the project is the development of a rotor blade using new fibres and a matching manufacturing technique in order to build large, cost-effective, high quality rotor blades. Depending on the savings in production costs the cost reduction for a blade will be up to 20%. The rotor blade must be suitable for the Lagerwey 50 (750 kW) wind turbine and for a 1 MW wind turbine with rotor diameter of approx. 55 m. The new fibres consist of general purpose carbon fibres (GPCF). With regard to the main objective, two related objectives are defined: determination of design allowables of GPCF and development of a production process for large carbon fibre rotor blades.

Technical Approach

In the first project phase the material properties of the GPCF composites and the design allowables will be determined by means of coupon tests on two-dimensional sheet material. The conversion to 3D material will be made by testing a small number of three-dimensional components with regard to static and fatigue strength.
The second project phase consists of an innovative production process. For large blades production in one piece is not feasible and therefore the upper and lower blade shells and shear webs will be produced separately and the parts will be built together in a blade mould. This manufacturing process will be compared with more traditional methods.
The third step in the project is the design of a 23 m blade using GPCF. This blade will be designed for the 750 kW wind turbine of Lagerwey Windturbine currently equipped with three blades of glass-fibre polyester. Also a blade for a new 1 MW wind turbine will be considered. For both designs the aerodynamic and mechanical calculations will be performed. The fourth phase consists of the manufacturing of the 23 m blade (59 m rotor) of carbon fibre according to the new production process and of the subsequent testing of the blade. A cost breakdown of the large GPCF epoxy blade will be performed in comparison with the costs of high strength carbon fibre blades and glass-fibre reinforced epoxy blades.
Expected Achievements and Exploitation

At the end of the project a design method and a production method will be available for building cost-effective large rotor blades using general purpose carbon fibres (GPCF). Included will be the material properties of GPCF and specific manufacturing instructions for GPCF rotor blades. Since most wind turbine and blade manufacturers are reluctant to use carbon fibre in their products because of the high cost, this project will increase the general acceptance for cost-effective GPCF. It will also provide much needed knowledge of material properties and manufacturing processes and on full scale testing required for a more widespread application of cost-effective carbon fibres.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Lagerwey Windturbine BV

3770 AG Barneveld

Participants (2)

Atout Vent SA
Actipole St. Charles
13710 Fuveau
Westerduinweg 3