As part of the targeted energy transition, increasingly wind power plants are being used to generate electricity. The international plastics processor Röchling Industrial launches a product made of composites, Pulcap®, that enhances the stability of the rotor blades of wind turbines. Owing to their extremely high mechanical strength and low weight, the pultruded profiles enable an efficient and safe operation of wind turbines.
By 2030, Germany intends to generate 65 percent of its gross electricity consumption from renewable energy sources. To achieve the intended energy transition, in future more wind, water and sun will be used to generate electricity. Among other things, new, more powerful offshore and onshore wind turbines are being developed or existing turbines are upgraded. Within the scope of repowering, turbine parts are replaced by, for example, larger parts that generate more power. Optimised, longer and more powerful rotor blades are very important in that context.
"With our Pulcap® pultruded profiles we are contributing to improving the efficiency of wind turbines. We are very happy to launch this high-quality product to the market," says Franz Lübbers, CEO of Röchling Industrial.
Tried and tested products for the wind power industry
The profiles for rotor spar caps are used as reinforcement of rotor blades in wind turbines. In conjunction with the bars, they form the skeleton of a blade and are largely responsible for stability.
Röchling has supplied the wind power industry with glass fibre-reinforced materials for more than 20 years and for instance, optimises the air flow on rotor blades. The company also offers insulation materials for choke coils, transformers and generators, and inverters.
Highest quality for extreme requirements
Röchling Industrial manufactures Pulcaps® using the pultrusion process. As part of the continuous process, a composite of glass and carbon fibres is produced with a special resin system that ensures the superior quality of the products. “The tensile forces during pultrusion straighten the fibres greatly reducing any material defects compared to conventional manufacturing processes,” explains Uwe Kasses, who is responsible for the composite business at Röchling Industrial, which also includes the pultrusion process. This reduces any imperfections and considerably decreases the risk of errors during bonding and processing.
At the same time, Pulcaps® withstand the highest loads due to their high mechanical properties, so that the profiles reliably reinforce the rotor blade chords. "Our pultruded profiles for wind turbines comply with the highest requirements. The material is tested in advance according to specified criteria resulting in only approved materials being used," explains Dr. Michael Janssen, responsible for Composite developments at Röchling Industrial.
Selected testing institutes, such as Materialforschung und Anwendungstechnik GmbH in Dresden, use complex procedures to examine the performance of the materials in relation to the extreme requirements and tight tolerances.
Longer service life and greater efficiency
In particular for larger and high-performance wind turbines, aspects such as high strengths play a decisive role due to loads and long service life. “Our product significantly increases the efficiency of modern systems,” says Dr Janssen. "Using Pulcaps® increases service life and improves performance. At the same time, error rates and maintenance times can be reduced, rendering the generation of electricity more economical and sustainable overall."
The Pulcap® pultruded profilesfor rotor spar caps can be seen at the WindEnergy trade fair from 27 to 30 September 2022 in Hamburg in Hall B7 at booth B7,324.
More information on Pulcaps® here.
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