Research topic: New materials for wind turbines
Research group: Faculty of Engineering Technology/Production Technology
People involved: professor Remko Akkerman
Sustainable Energy Technology involves the development of new equipment, in all cases with specific requirements. Research into materials and processes is required before any of the ideas can be put into reality. In this perspective, the Production Technology group focuses on the optimisation of both the manufacturing process and the performance of lightweight materials in structural applications.
1.The current concepts for PV modules involve rigid, heavy and standardised panels. Composite integrated PV has the potential for more design flexibility and weight saving, in silicon as well as thin film technology. Competitive processes need to be developed to reach a robust cost effective solution for interconnection and encapsulation.
2.Wind turbines are more effective when the size increases. Better lightweight structural materials are required sustain the mechanical loading during operation; and new design and manufacturing concepts are needed to increase the size while keeping the structure affordable and producible in sufficient numbers.
3.Wind turbine systems often work under harsh environments, where inspection is difficult and costly. Technologies need to be developed for structural health monitoring. This involves development of sensing technologies, combined with understanding the structural behaviour and the material degradation processes.
4.Off shore wind turbines are not only hard to inspect, but even harder to repair. This makes these wind turbine blades in particular suited for self healing materials, with integrated mechanisms healing the damage incurred during use. Various concepts for self healing composite materials are being developed and optimised.