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Advanced Thermoplastic Resins for Manufacturing Wind Turbine Blades

At its Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) Facility, NREL is producing 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. Positive results from the 9-meter blade experiment show promise for further research and potentially full-scale experimentation, and technoeconomic analyses further bolster these findings.


Ultimately, these thermoplastic resins have the potential to:

  • Reduce manufacturing costs by up to 30%
  • Decrease the critical cycle time during production by up to 20%
  • Improve durability in service and to enable easier blade repairs.

Additionally, their recycling potential will help IACMI achieve its five-year goal of 80% recyclability for the composite structures of wind turbine blades.


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