Wind Energy From The Sky
Existing wind turbine blades have critical components made of expensive carbon fiber composites. The turbine blades are at operating limits now. Markets demand greater generating capacity, requiring longer blades. Carbon fiber, offering stiffness and resistance to material fatigue, is by far the material of choice even though economics are challenging.
CrossLink works with leading companies to perfect carbon fiber composites tailored to withstand enormous stresses experienced by the blades. Tailoring plus better economics allow much longer turbine blades at reasonable cost. Improved economics also mean better performance at lower cost for replacement blades.
Multiple wind energy companies faced business challenges to increase electrical generating capacity of their giant wind turbines. Longer blade length translates to much greater generating capacity. The engineering answer to the challenge of longer blades was to increase the carbon fiber composite content of turbine blades. Until now, the purchasing department's response was to reject the cost of using more carbon fiber per blade because of high carbon fiber prices. The companies are working with CrossLink to develop carbon fiber tailored to the specific needs of longer blades and incorporating CrossLink's optimal pricing. This improved the economics, making feasible blades that are as much as 3X longer. The same CrossLink product, used in replacing current blades, should extend their useful life while also improving economics of existing operations.
CrossLink has been awarded multiple grants from the National Science Foundation
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