Tests indicate that through innovative materials, lighter and more efficient blades are coming

Covestro polyurethane wind blade passes key static and fatigue tests

Covestro, a globally leading supplier of high performance polymer materials, has announced that a wind turbine blade manufactured using Covestro’s innovative technology has successfully passed static and fatigue tests (edgewise and flapwise) conducted by China General Certification (CGC). The announcement was made at China Wind Power 2017, where Covestro showcased its new polyurethane resin solution.

The spar cap and shear web of the 55.2 meter-long blade for a 2MW turbine were fabricated with the polyurethane infusion resin from Covestro and TM+ glass fiber from Chongqing Polycomp International (CPIC), a leading Chinese glass fiber manufacturer. The other parts of the blade were produced using conventional epoxy resin.
(Video: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzEyMTYzMDEzNg==.html?spm=a2h3j.8428770.3416059.1)

This success is a result of Covestro’s close cooperation with industry partners including CGC, CPIC, WINDnovation, a Germany-based company that designed the test blade, and China-based Luoyang Sunrui Wind Power Co. Ltd.

“Testing wind turbine blades is the key to proving their reliability. These test results show that polyurethane resin can meet strict industry standards and the requirements for long-term blade use in extreme weather conditions,” said Dr. Irene Li, Head of Application Development in Asia Pacific, Polyurethanes Business Unit, Covestro. “It is another milestone in wind blade manufacturing as Covestro gets international certification from DNV GL. The test results are also perfect proof that polyurethane boasts a superior interface performance with epoxy resin.”

Enabling lighter, stronger blades with polyurethane
Thanks to the significant performance benefits offered by polyurethane, it is now possible to make lighter and stronger blades. Lighter, more efficient wind blades lower the demands on the hub components and tower structure of a wind turbine, thereby reducing the capital and operating expenses for the entire wind turbine.

The interface bonding performance between polyurethane resin and glass fiber is superior to epoxy with glass fiber. This new material has much better mechanical properties and superior fatigue resistance, as well as delivering obvious lightweight advantages for optimizing blade design.

Polyurethane resin has a lower viscosity and better fluidity than epoxy resin, which can result in a faster infusion speed. Furthermore, it does not require post-curing and can significantly reduce blade production time. Besides, polyurethane resin has a lower exothermic peak than epoxy resin, thus reducing the impact on the PVC foam core.

Supporting the wind revolution
As an innovative material, polyurethane resin is well positioned to support the trend in the global wind industry towards lighter, stronger blades. In the future, China will build more of its new wind power generating capacity in its mid-eastern regions, where wind speeds are lower and where taller wind towers and longer wind blades are needed to effectively capture low-speed wind and enhance power generation efficiency. Meanwhile, the wind industry is deliberating how to rapidly develop offshore wind farms. In large blades new materials like polyurethane resin can deliver an excellent performance.

Power generation from renewable sources is a key aspect of Covestro’s sustainability strategy. Covestro is a long-term supporter of wind energy, which is one of the most promising renewable energy sources. Covestro has pioneered polyurethane applications for wind energy, developing two-component balancing material for blades, polyurethane coatings for wind turbine towers and blades, as well as polyurethane elastomers for the undersea cables that connect offshore wind turbines. Covestro’s polyurethane resin solution underscores the company’s commitment to its industry partners to jointly pursue innovation in the development of the wind industry.

About Covestro:
With 2016 sales of EUR 11.9 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 15,600 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2016.

Find more information at www.covestro.com.

Forward-looking statements
This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.