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VolturnUS 1:8 offshore wind turbine features a composite tower

The first grid-connected offshore wind turbine to be deployed off the coast of North America features a glass fibre reinforced polymer tower produced by Ershigs using glass fibre from PPG and resin from Ashland.

The turbine was deployed 31 May near Brewer, Maine, USA, by the University of Maine, leader of the DeepCwind Consortium, which also includes Ashland and PPG.

The DeepCwind Consortium

The DeepCwind Consortium's mission is to establish the State of Maine as a national leader in deepwater offshore wind technology through a research initiative funded by the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and others.

The University of Maine-led consortium includes:

  • universities, non-profits and utilities;
  • a wide range of industry leaders in offshore design, offshore construction, and marine structures manufacturing;
  • firms with expertise in wind project siting, environmental analysis, environmental law, composites materials to assist in corrosion-resistant material design and selection, and energy investment; and
  • industry organisations to assist with education and tech transfer activities.

The prototype turbine VolturnUS 1:8 is approximately 65 ft tall. The composite tower – believed to be a first for the wind energy industry – was manufactured by Ershigs, a specialist in corrosion-resistant composite products, and is constructed from Ashland’s Aropol unsaturated polyester resins and PPG Industries' glass fibre reinforcement.

The composite tower is fixed to a polymer concrete floating base.

Compared to a traditional steel tower, a composite tower offers significant weight savings and reduced maintenance related to improved corrosion resistance, Ashland reports.

The 1:8 scale VolturnUS 1:8 is modeled after the 6 MW VolturnUS offshore floating wind turbine that the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center plans to launch in the coming years.



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