PRESS RELEASE: Bayer MaterialScience LLC is whisking forward with research and testing that could determine the viability of polyurethane composites reinforced with Baytubes® carbon nanotubes for potential use in 1.5+ megawatt wind turbine blades.
The project is funded in part by a $750,000 grant Bayer MaterialScience LLC received from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in July 2009. A core element of the research calls for optimizing the base formulations and functionality of carbon nanotubes to meet or exceed existing material performance.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is subcontracting with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Molded Fiber Glass Companies, based in Ashtabula, Ohio, to assist with research as part of the project, “Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polyurethane Composites for Wind Turbine Blades.”
Bayer MaterialScience’s polyurethane-based systems reinforced with carbon nanotubes during the resin phase have been proven to create as much as a 50 percent increase in strength-to-weight ratio by modifying the resin component of the composite to percolation levels ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent.
In addition to providing a stronger composite structure, polyurethane-based systems use bio-based components and can be tailored to eliminate the post-cure step, which can reduce energy costs. This project will explore zero volatile organic compound (VOC) polyurethane-based systems as a low emissions technology to further reduce the carbon footprint.
The project further strengthens Bayer MaterialScience’s commitment to sustainability, and is just the latest of several eco-friendly applications—including development of alternative energy vehicles and the company’s EcoCommercial Building Program—that feature the company’s materials, technologies and expertise.
-Edited by Kelsey Anderson