The increasing wind energy demands require advances in the wind power industry and particularly in the production and quality of the wind turbines. In the last 20 years, blade sizes have increased from 15m (0.05 kW) to 100m (8-10 MW) and in the next decade, wind turbines radii are expected to reach 150-200m (12-20 MW) in order to increase power output and capacity factors. However, larger blades experience greater stresses and need additional reinforcement, which comes at an increased cost and weight. Heavier blades have higher values of inertia and require a higher minimum wind to generate power. They also require larger supporting structures, inducing costs and design limitations. To meet these challenges the focus is on the enhancement of the quality of the wind turbines and the production of lighter, stronger and more cost-effective parts.
HIPPAC’s ambition is to develop a new pultrusion model that will go well beyond the current state of the art in pultrusion modelling and produce practical digital tools to improve and integrate existing technologies. The developed digital tool will allow for the rapid design of the pultrusion line prior to implementation, with integrated in-line quality control and improved process control in a tailored and original way. This improved pultrusion process will be utilised for the manufacturing of advanced carbon fibre reinforced spar caps, which are key structural elements inside wind turbine blades as they provide crucial reinforcement and take-up most of the mechanical load.
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