ÉireComposites blades are made using the company’s patented MechTool®, a technology which has helped make valuable advances in the renewable energy sector.
- 13m Blades – In 2013, ÉireComposites commenced manufacturing 13-metre blades for the Vestas V27 machine from glass fibre and epoxy resin.
- 14m Blades – ÉireComposites, manufacture 14-metre wind-turbine blades for a derivative of the 225kW Vestas V29 wind turbine.
- Kingspan Blades – ÉireComposites produce glass-fibre reinforced polypropylene (Twintex) thermoplastic wind turbine blades for 6kW and 15kW Kingspan machines. GF/PP is an extremely tough, lightweight composite and provides for quiet and durable production of electricity from the wind. These blades can be recycled because thermoplastic materials are used.
- OmniLink Blades – OmniLink Green Technology have developed and tested a diffuser-augmented-wind-turbine (DAWT) which uses a diffuser around the outside of the blades to accelerate the wind and hence increase the power captured. The diffuser results in higher loads on the blades and can cause failures for low-quality blades. ÉireComposites has designed and manufactured high-strength, lightweight blades for the OmniLink turbine which can survive the high loads resulting from the diffuser.
PowderBlade is a €2.7m Horizon 2020 project to develop large wind blades (60m-100m). The project is based on a novel process for manufacturing blades from powder epoxy, developed by ÉireComposites.
The process eliminates the need to glue blade sub-elements together and hence reduces cost and weight. The PowderBlade project aims to modernise the production of large-scale wind turbine blades. By doubling the length of the blades, four times the energy can be captured. Longer blades can also achieve economies of scale for large offshore wind farms.
Objectives of PowderBlade:
• Design and manufacture a carbon fibre spar and glass fibre root for a full-scale hybrid blade.
• Design and test a torsion box for full-scale wind blade.
• Reduce cycle time for blade production.
• Commercialise the composite manufacturing technology for large wind blade application.
• Scale up manufacturing process so that hundreds of blades can be produced each year.
FloTEC is a €10m project that aims to reduce the cost of floating tidal energy through the delivery of a number of promising innovations on an enchained variant of Scotrenewables SR2000 floating tidal turbine. ÉireComposites’ scope is to develop higher performance tidal turbine blades at an affordable cost.
Targeted innovations for the project include:
• Improved energy capture through increased rotor swept area (9m blades).
• Advance lower cost manufacturing techniques in both turbine structure and blade.
•Centralised power conversion with integrated energy storage.
• Novel load dampers to reduce peak mooring loads.
• Determine an optimised composites structure and manufacturing method for SR2000-2 blades.
• Design lighter more robust blades with higher fibre volume fraction and straighter fibres.
• Reduce blade cost.
• Develop a technique for high volume and high-quality production.
• Perform extensive testing of materials and blade sub components to demonstrate the robustness of blades in ocean conditions.
MarinComp is a European Commission, Marie Curie 7th Framework Programme funded Project, under the Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways. It aims to reduce the cost of offshore wind and tidal turbine blades and enable the drive toward lower cost per kilowatt renewable energy for both industries. Within MarinComp, ÉireComposites has performed extensive development of its powder epoxy technology and demonstrated that the technology has significant potential for applications in marine renewable energy.
MaREI – is a collaboration of universities. MaREI is the marine and renewable energy research, development and innovation Centre supported by Science Foundation Ireland. The MaREI Centre conducts fundamental scientific research relating to marine and renewable energy applications and enables the development and testing of technology through to the construction of demonstration systems. ÉireComposites is funding a blade testing project at NUIG’s large structures testing laboratory and is using these facilities to demonstrate the advantages of its blade manufacturing technology.
ÉireComposites’ research on renewable energy has resulted in a number of publications including the following:
- Fagan, E., Goggins, J., Flanagan, M., Flanagan, T., Doyle, A., and Leen, S. “Physical Experimental Static Testing and Structural Design Optimisation for a Composite Wind Turbine Blade” Composite Structures, Volume 164, Pages 90–103, 15 March 2017.
- Flanagan, T, Maguire, J, Ó Brádaigh, CM, Mayorga, P. and Doyle, A., “Smart Affordable Composite Blades for Tidal Energy”, European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC 2015), Nantes, France, September 2015.
- Ó Brádaigh, CM, Doyle, A., Doyle, D. and Feerick. P.J., “One-Shot Wind Turbine Blade Manufacturing using Powder-Epoxy and Electrically-Heated Ceramic Composite Tooling”, 7th International CFK-Valley Stade Convention, Germany, June 2013.
- Feerick. P.J., “The Manufacture of Turbine Blades using High-Temperature Tooling and VOC–Free Polymer Composites”, Wind Turbine Blade Manufacture 2010”, Düsseldorf, Germany, December 2010.
- Ó Brádaigh, C.M. “Manufacture of Composite Wind Turbine Blades using High-Temperature Integrally-Heated Composite Tooling”, Composites Innovation 2012, National Composites Centre, Bristol, UK, July 2012.
- M.Flanagan, F.Doyle, J.Goggins, E.Fagan, A. Doyle, T.Flanagan, P.J Ferrick, S.Leen. “Large Scale Structural Testing of Wind Turbine Blades Manufactured Using a One-Shot Out-of-Autoclave Process” In CERI Conference.2016.
- D.Grogan, M.Flanagan, J.Goggins, C.Kennedy, A.Doyle, M.Walls, S.Leen. “Characterisation and water ageing of composite materials for tidal turbine blades” In CERI Conference. 2016.
ÉireComposites has also registered a patent for its blade manufacturing technology:
EP 2344312 B “A Heated Mould for Moulding Polymeric Composites”. The Mould allows Out-Of-Autoclave processing of epoxy powder and is suitable for manufacturing products such as wind and tidal blades and other large composite structures.