Development of a Low Wind Turbine Blade Making Optimal Use of Carbon Fiber Composites

Period of Performance: 01/01/2002 - 12/31/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Global Energy Concepts, Llc
1809 7th Avenue, Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98101
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


70880 As the size of wind turbines has grown, fundamental engineering principles have caused the cost and weight of blades to increase faster than the energy output. This has reduced the extent to which the cost of energy from wind turbines can be reduced by increasing the size of the turbines. Unfortunately, the approaches that have been attempted to address this problem have not been compatible with the materials that are commonly used in wind turbine blades. This project will addressed this problem by incorporating carbon fibers into wind turbine blade designs, leading to a 10-to-20 percent reduction in the cost of energy from wind turbines. Phase I will determine the most appropriate means of incorporating carbon fiber into wind turbine blades to allow for a reduction in loads and increase in the blade length. Changes in the blade planform will be addressed as well as procedures for incorporating bend/twist coupling into the blade design. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The wind turbine blade design should be suitable for sale to the international wind energy market,which exceeded $5 billion dollars in 2001. Of this, approximately $500 million was related to blades. The blade designs developed under this work are expected to be particularly well suited to larger diameter rotors for use in relatively low wind sites in the United States.