New EU Project Commits to Better Turbine Economics

Industry and research communities from five different European countries have launched a project aiming to develop composite materials expected to allow a 30% increase in wind turbine blade durability and a considerable reduction in blade-related costs.

The DACOMAT (Damage Controlled Composite Materials) project includes damage-tolerant materials and remote structural health monitoring tools, a combination which is said to contribute to establishing condition-based O&M, thus reducing the high inspection and maintenance costs in offshore wind energy.

The Horizon 2020-funded project will see the development of composite materials with high capacity to sustain damage and fractures, making them suitable for structures requiring high levels of durability, thereby enhancing the durability of wind turbine blades for which composite is already the preferred material.

According to DTU Wind Energy, one of the partners, the project participants will collaborate to ensure that any development of fractures in structures made of composite has a minimal likelihood of compromising their strength.

In addition, the project developments will have general applicability to other structures with requirements to durability and resistance to harsh environmental conditions, DTU said.

Launched in January this year, DACOMAT has a budget of EUR 5.9 million and is fully funded by the European Commission. The project is expected to run until the end of 2021.

Project participants include the coordinator SINTEF, Polynt, FiReCo, and DNV GL from Norway, DTU Wind Energy and LM Wind Power from Denmark, 3B Fibreglass from Belgium, Hexcel, JCH Ecology and the University of Strathclyde from the UK, as well as Carbures Civil Works and the Polytechnical University of Madrid from Spain.

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