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The University of Nottingham has won the JEC Asia Innovation Award in Biocomposites for their research on natural-fibre development for small wind-turbine blade applications.
The awards ceremony will take place during the JEC Asia Composites Show which runs from the 25th to 27th June in Singapore.
The research at the University of Nottingham was in collaboration with Camira Energy and produced an industry-first natural-fibre-reinforced, structural composite component, in the form of a small wind- turbine blade. The 3.5metre flax/polyester blade, suitable for an 11kW wind turbine, satisfies the structural-integrity requirements (static and fatigue) of international IEC standards.
Significant innovations were developed in order to create this structural, natural-fibre blade, including low-twist, multi-axial flax fabrics; bio-compatible sizing agent and binder; design methodology; and liquid-moulding processing techniques. The flax blade is demonstrated to be a sustainable and structural alternative to an E-glass blade of identical construction. The flax blade also provides weight savings, and may provide cost savings considering potential economies of scale.
“The developed natural-fibre blade creates a new niche market in the expanding, small-wind-energy sector, that will continue to grow with the public’s environmental concerns and the wind industry’s pursuit in developing eco-friendly material technologies”, commented Dr Peter Schubel, Principal Investigator at the University of Nottingham.
Photo provided by the University of Nottingham.
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