Wind energy: innovative materials for rotor blades

TECOSIM is taking part in a joint research project by the Leibniz University Hanover and other partners from research and industry. The project aims to develop and test new kinds of materials for wind turbine rotor blades.

Conventional materials made of glass-fibre-reinforced composites are reaching their limits as far as a longer service life and improved lightweight properties are concerned. Coordinated by the Institute of Structural Analysis (ISD) at Leibniz University, the HANNAH joint research project examines how to make use of the highly promising potential of nano-modified materials and hybrid laminates for industrial use in rotor blade construction. The service life and fatigue resistance in these material systems are superior to current established materials.

Launched in March 2019, the project has received funding of 3.3 million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). HANNAH stands for challenges in the industrial application of nano-modified and hybrid material systems in rotor blade construction in German  The German Wind Energy Research Alliance is managing the project. Thanks to ForWind member ISD, it is also included in joint research within ForWind, the Centre for Wind Energy Research at the Universities of Hannover, Oldenburg and Bremen. 

The Hannah research project aims to prolong the service life of wind turbine rotor blades with new materials. Image: Fraunhofer IWES/HGross

“TECOSIM's task comprises using CAE analyses to test and verify the added value provided by the use of new material systems in wind turbine rotor blades. A full certification process with a special focus on fatigue analyses and bolt joints is used for this purpose,” states Tom Sill, Branch Manager at the Hamburg location, explaining the computer-aided engineering specialist’s contribution to the project.

Involvement with the project forms part of the TECOSIM strategy to expand its renewable energies business activities further, widen its expertise and offer innovative solutions. Numerical calculation and computer simulation are used to identify the dynamic wind loads on structural components and thus verify and optimise the load bearing capacity and service life of wind turbines. The engineers at TECOSIM have many years’ CAE experience in the solar and wind energy segments.

In addition to Leibniz University Hannover, project partners include the German Aerospace Center´s Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES. Industry partners in the consortium comprise INVENT GmbH, TECOSIM GmbH, SINOI GmbH and Zeisberg Carbon GmbH.

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