Covestro offers the first polyurethane resins for wind turbine blades

Covestro is a global supplier of high performance polymer materials and has delivered the first orders for polyurethane raw materials for wind blades to China. According to the World Wind Energy Association, China is the world’s largest wind power market with an installed capacity of 221 GW at the end of 2018.

Blades produced by Zhuzhou Times New Materials Technology Co., Ltd. (TMT), one of China’s largest wind blade manufacturers, were subsequently delivered to Envision, the world’s leading wind turbine technology company. They plan to install a wind farm in East China in July 2019.

Covestro supplied TMT with polyurethane resin for the production of 18 polyurethane wind blades with a length of 59.5 meters, as well as spar caps and shear webs. The delivery of these blades to Envision heralds the deployment of Covestro’s polyurethane resins in blades for commercial wind farm projects.

To ensure deployment, the Covestro Wind Power team produced wind blade prototypes and passed static and fatigue tests. The prototype was commissioned in a wind farm in central China in 2018.

Polyurethane Resin – Innovations that change the rules of the game
Ulrich Liman, head of global R&D at the polyurethane business unit at Covestro, said:

“We are very pleased to work with Envision and TMT to develop the first batch of PU wind blade sales orders in China. The polyurethane resin in wind blade production is a game-changing innovation provided by Covestro’s global team. We are always committed to creating social benefits and Products that improve the lives of people around the world.”

Zilu Liang, deputy chief engineer of TMT Wind Power Products, said:

“As an innovative material, polyurethane has advantages in cost and production compared to epoxy resin. We have been cooperating with Covestro since 2016 and we have achieved continuous production. We hope to further cooperate with Covestro. Explore large wind blades and wind blades made entirely of polyurethane.”

Excellent performance
Covestro’s new polyurethane infusion resin is designed to help the wind industry meet the growing demand for longer wind blade designs. Such wind turbine rotor blades are typically made from glass fiber reinforced resin by applying vacuum infusion techniques. The use of polyurethane resins to make large rotor blades for wind turbines indicates that the material itself has excellent mechanical properties and fatigue resistance. Wind blade plant production processes also have benefits such as faster curing processes and better processability to increase productivity levels.

Irene Li, Head of PU Application Development for Asia Pacific, Covestro, concluded:

“This is the first step towards the industrialization of polyurethane resins in the wind power industry and opens a new chapter in polyurethane chemistry. We believe that our polyurethane solutions offer significant advantages in wind blade production and value chain.”