The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation
Building on its 30-year history of collaboration with major wind turbine original equipment manufacturers and U.S. blade manufacturers, NREL leads the wind turbine technology area of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
In this role, NREL works to drive down the cost of energy for wind power and achieve DOE and IACMI goals by providing comprehensive expertise and technical capabilities.
NREL currently focuses on a thermoplastic resin system project for wind turbine blades. Future projects for IACMI might include manufacturing innovations such as:
- Pultruded spar caps
- Manufacturing automation
- Additive manufacturing of tooling and components
- Segmented blade design and manufacturing
- Wind turbine blade and component recycling
- In-process nondestructive evaluation.
Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology Facility
To support IACMI projects, NREL constructed the Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) Facility at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). The CoMET enables NREL to lead composite research projects for the wind turbine industry, both through IACMI and through NREL partnerships.
The CoMET, which opened in March 2017, fills a critical composites manufacturing gap in IACMI’s research and development process.
NREL is currently equipping the CoMET facility in a building previously used for blade preparation for structural evaluation at the NWTC. NREL aims to have a grand opening for the facility during the IACMI winter meeting in early 2017.
Featuring specialized capabilities in wind industry composite research, the CoMET provides:
- Rapid prototyping of new blade materials and production methods
- Full-scale blade component tooling and fixtures (root, spar cap, tip, shear web)
- Infusion, pultrusion, prepreg, RTM, hand lay-up (small parts)
- Polyester, vinyl-Ester, epoxy, thermoplastic/fiberglass, carbon fiber
- Comprehensive composite production equipment (mixers, vacuum, dispensers)
- Molding, assembly, bonding, and finishing
- Thermal welding
- Segmented 3-D printed tooling
- Large-area rapid nondestructive evaluation
- Modeling and manufacturing simulation
- Panels, material test coupons, and components
- Structural evaluation of coupons, components, and joints
- Workforce development and training for the composites industry.
NREL collaborates with industry and university partners on IACMI projects. Current IACMI members include:
- Colorado School of Mines
- Colorado State University
- GE Wind
- Johns Manville
- TPI Composites.
Learn more about working with NREL.