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Advanced Thermoplastic Resins for Manufacturing Wind Turbine Blades

At its Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) facility, NREL produced wind turbine blade components with Arkema’s Elium liquid thermoplastic resin.

Photo of men working on turbine blades in a dome-shaped building.

Unlike thermoset resins, which cannot be reheated, thermoplastic materials can potentially be recycled at the end of the wind turbine's life span.

These novel, thermoplastic resins may also reduce a wind turbine's levelized cost of energy by reducing cycle time, embodied energy, and capital costs. And because they can be thermally welded, thermoplastic resins may also eliminate the need for additional adhesive materials, expediting blade manufacturing and eliminating highly stressed bond lines.

This research is part of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation's (IACMI's) 9-meter demonstration blade project.

Impact

Ultimately, these thermoplastic resins may reduce manufacturing costs and time, and their recycling potential will help IACMI achieve its five-year goal of 80% recyclability for the composite structures of wind turbine blades.

Capabilities

Learn more about NREL's IACMI projects and its CoMET facility.