Evaluating the Performance and Sustainability of Natural Fibre-Based Composites in Wind Turbine Components: A Comparative Study

Research projects

Project Description:

A rapidly growing subset of offshore wind is the development and application of floating foundations, allowing developers to access deeper waters where consistent high wind speeds are available. Floating wind is likely to become an integral part of the wind energy generation mix and is expected to contribute a minimum of 5GW by 2030 in the UK. The future offshore wind turbines have been projected to exceed 20 MW generation capacity. Therefore, using current materials and manufacturing processes will create significant challenges around the size and weight of wind turbine components, for example, state-of-the-art turbine nacelles already weigh 500+ tonnes (SGRE 14-222 DD). This impacts load-bearing component design, transportation, and installation. This provides a potential window of opportunity to investigate alternative materials and manufacturing processes such as composites.

The aim will be achieved through the following objectives:
• The investigation of the mechanical properties of natural fibre-based composites in wind turbine components such as blades, towers, and floating foundations.
• The evaluation of the performance requirements of a range of floating wind turbine compoents.
• The comparison of the cost of natural fibre-based composites with hydrocarbon-based composites and other conventional wind turbine component materials.
• Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) of natural fibre-based composites and compare it with hydrocarbon-based composites to determine their environmental impact.

For an informal discussion, call +44 (0) 1482 463331
or contact auracdt@hull.ac.uk