Producing electricity using wind power has been reinvigorated due to its numerous environmental advantages over burning fossil fuels. Large farms of wind turbines with blades made of thermoset composites are normally the most efficient way of economically harnessing wind power on a commercial scale. But, furnishing a reliable source for providing electricity to remote areas offers the potential to improve quality of life for many people around the world. To capture this opportunity China-based Hunan ZKenergy Wind Power Industrial Technology Co. has adapted the technology of wind turbines to produce affordable, small-scale units suitable for off-grid locations.
By applying new design principles to increase performance and efficiency, Hunan ZKengery has revolutionized the wind energy industry. A crucial element of their success has been a redesign of their turbine blades, which are manufactured via injection molding using an RTP Company engineered very long glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite. The compound was chosen over other reinforced plastics due to the enhanced mechanical properties long fiber composites provide.
“We worked with RTP Company to develop a suitable very long fiber product because it provided the highest strength-to-weight ratio we could find in an injection moldable material,” said Danping Xie, Vice President of Design at Hunan ZKenergy. “The long glass fiber reinforcement provided high modulus and impact resistance that keeps the configuration of our blades constant, regardless of environmental conditions. Exceptional dimensional stability is critical for keeping the blades from changing their angle against incoming wind and greatly increases the efficiency of our turbines, especially in both very humid or very dry conditions.”
Another advantage the very long fiber compound provided is a lower specific gravity in comparison to thermoset or metal materials, which makes the blade tremendously lighter and more efficient. Additionally, it offered enhanced strength and a higher degree of rigidity over other injection moldable materials, noted Xie. “When our turbines are in operation, RTP Company’s compound has been able to dampen vibrations within the blade, effectively reducing audible noise.”
“RTP Company’s ability to help improve the performance of our blade, as well as their professional research and development team, made them the perfect supplier for us,” added Xie. “Our turbine blades are now able to outlast the life of the mechanical components of the turbine itself.”
Hunan ZKenergy Wind Power Industrial Technology Co., Ltd, is a worldwide leader in the clean-energy field. They design and manufacture small wind turbines. For more information, visit their website at www.zkenergy.com.