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High Compression Bladder Moulding Prepreg Process (HCBMP) for Wind Turbine

18 July 2005

Southwest Windpower has awarded a purchase order to Quatro Composites for the development and production of the redesigned Whisper 500 wind blades using Quatro's HCBMP process.

Quatro developed the HCBMP process for wind generator blades while working on a DoE grant from the National Renewal Energy Lab (NREL) in 2004. The objective of the grant was to exhibit the effectiveness of producing small-to-medium sized wind generator blades by using an inflatable bladder to mould prepreg in a female closed-cavity mould.

Southwest Windpower’s Jean Lonjaret stated that, “We chose Quatro and the HCBMP process for our new Whisper 500 blades because we were very impressed with the cost-of-energy improvement (COE), fast cycle times, monocoque construction and excellent structural properties afforded by the process,” adding that “the Whisper 500 can produce enough energy to power an entire home”.

The Whisper 500 features a pair of 2 metre-long hybrid carbon/fibreglass blades and incorporates the patented side furling design that optimizes output at any wind speed. Assuming an average wind speed of 5.5 m/s, a Whisper 500 will produce as much as 500 kWh per month.

Bill Leighty from Alaska Applied Sciences stated, “The program was a success. We proved the potential of the HCBMP process by producing and flying multiple blade sets on existing turbines in Palm Springs California.” Each blade is 19 feet long and has a max width (chord) of 10”.

“We were able to effectively produce a 19 foot blade, but we found that the HCBMP process is really more suitable for wind blades less than 10 feet in length.” said Doug Roberts of Quatro Composites. “We are very excited about the potential of the HCBMP process for the sub 10kW wind turbine market.” Quatro is actively pursuing additional business in this market segment.

Quatro Composites specializes in compression and bladder moulding of prepreg materials, including carbon, glass, and aramid fibres. Markets served are: medical, space, aerospace, defence, wind energy, automotive, sporting goods, and audio.






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