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Bayer MaterialScience is testing the viability of polyurethane composites reinforced with Baytubes carbon nanotubes for potential use in 1.5+ megawatt wind turbine blades.
The project is funded in part by a $750,000 grant Bayer MaterialScience received from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in July 2009. A core element of the research calls for optimizing the base formulations and functionality of carbon nanotubes to meet or exceed existing material performance.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is subcontracting with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Molded Fiber Glass Companies, based in Ashtabula, Ohio, to assist with research as part of the project, “Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polyurethane Composites for Wind Turbine Blades.”
“We’re excited to work with industry and academia to study the viability of applying our polyurethane and other composites reinforced with carbon nanotubes to help the wind energy industry develop stronger, larger and lighter wind turbine blades,” said Mike Gallagher, director, Government Services Group, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. “The wind industry has indicated that development of stronger, lightweight composite technology could lead to as much as a 35 percent increase in turbine energy output.”
Bayer say that their polyurethane-based systems reinforced with carbon nanotubes during the resin phase create as much as a 50 percent increase in strength-to-weight ratio, by modifying the resin component of the composite to percolation levels ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent.
This project will also explore zero volatile organic compound (VOC) polyurethane-based systems as a low emissions technology to further reduce the carbon footprint.
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