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Current Challenges of Wind Energy Development: Materials Science Aspects

Abstract

Contemporary materials science aspects related to the development and expansion of wind energy are discussed in this paper. With view on the extraordinary durability and reliability requirements toward wind turbine blades, and high maintenance costs, the wind turbine materials should demonstrate very high strength and fatigue resistance, combined with low weight. Possibilities of wind turbine blade protection against the most common blade degradation mechanisms, in particular, leading edge erosion, and requirements toward protective coatings are reviewed. Hybrid composites reinforced with lightweight carbon fibers are discussed as a way to reduce gravitational load on the blades. Another side of using strong durable materials for wind turbine blades is related with the recycling challenges. In connection with ageing the first generation of wind turbines, installed in early 2000s, the problems of waste management and recycling become especially relevant. Possibilities of development of structural composites from bio-based elements, recyclable polymers and thermoplastics, which have the same strength as the usual fiber glass epoxy, are discussed in this paper.

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Funding

The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Innovation Foundation of Denmark in the framework of the Grand Solutions project DURALEDGE, Durable leading edges for high tip speed wind turbine blades, file 8055-00012A (www.duraledge.dk), and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, in the framework of Danida grant MAINTAINERGY, Maintenance and repair strategy for wind energy development, file 19-M02-DTU (www.maintainergy.dk).

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Correspondence to L. Mishnaevsky, Jr..

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This paper is dedicated to Professor Dr. Siegfried Schmauder, on the occasion of his 65th birthday

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Mishnaevsky, Jr., L. Current Challenges of Wind Energy Development: Materials Science Aspects. Phys Mesomech 24, 533–540 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1029959921050040

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Keywords:

  • wind energy
  • wind turbine blades
  • maintenance
  • structural health monitoring