Owens Corning unveils Ultrablade wind turbine blade fabrics

According to Owens Corning, the Ultrablade™ products, which will be commercially available in January 2011, can help designers remove nearly 1 tonne of reinforcement and resin from 2 MW wind turbines compared to same-size blade sets made with traditional E-glass.

Compared to standard fabrics, Owens Corning claims its Ultrablade fabrics in epoxy resin can:

  • reduce spar weight by up to 18% while keeping length constant;
  • increase blade length by up to 6%;
  • improve blade stiffness by up to 20%;
  • decrease blade thickness by up to 6% to increase aerodynamic efficiency and generate higher torque for driving turbines; and
  • reduce total blade weight by up to 5% to ease the load on the turbine and tower, enabling turbines to operate effectively at lower wind speeds

“Ultrablade fabric solutions give designers much more freedom in developing longer blades for today’s large turbines,” says Dr Chris Skinner, director of global technical marketing for OCV™ Technical Fabrics. “As the market continues to move to larger-capacity wind turbines needing longer blades, designers can use a combination of several improved properties in different areas of a blade. They can choose to increase blade length for any given weight while keeping the thrust constant and assuring sufficient tower clearance. At lower wind speeds, weight-saving Ultrablade fabric solutions can help increase a blade’s aerodynamic lift, torque and energy output. The end-result will be higher annual energy production from optimised blade designs using high-performance fabrics.”

Ultrablade fabrics will be produced in a number of Owens Corning facilities globally. In China, the products will be manufactured at plants in Changzhou and Doudian.

Owens Corning is using a distinctive PINK stitching to identify its Ultrablade fabric in the marketplace.

Owens Corning announced the new Ultrablade products at the China Composites Expo in Beijing this week.

Owens Corning, headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, USA, is a global producer of glass fibre reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems and residential and commercial building materials.