Circular Energy Generation: Building Tomorrow's Recyclable Turbine Blades (Text Version)

This is the text version of the video Circular Energy Generation: Building Tomorrow's Recyclable Turbine Blades.

As the cost of wind energy has dropped significantly, researchers are now looking at how to make this technology even more sustainable.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL, in partnership with Arkema, Inc., of Pennsylvania have developed a thermoplastic resin system to create a potentially recyclable wind turbine blade. At NREL'S Composite Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility or COMET.

This next-generation blade is made of a novel thermoplastic resin that harnesses the power of Arkema's Elium resin technology. This unique material and process could pave the way to lower cost, recyclable turbine blades.

NREL is not only changing what turbine blades are made of, but how they are held together. Traditionally, blade components are bonded with adhesive, however joints can crack and separate over time, requiring time-consuming and costly repairs.

The thermal welding techniques being pioneered by NREL and their partners demonstrate the potential to create stronger and longer blades, while enabling ease of transport and repair, too.

This thermoplastic resin system can transform a host of industries, including the marine energy industry, thanks to our better performing thermoplastic blades.

This breakthrough innovation will help renewable energy technologies continue their meteoric rise—sustainably and cost-effectively. Learn more about NREL's advanced manufacturing work.