Objectives and Goals

The main goal of the MARINCOMP project is to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of offshore wind and tidal turbine blades and enable the drive toward lower cost per kilowatt renewable energy for both industries. University College Cork and University of Ulster, will combine with industry partners Toray Carbon Fibers Europe – a supplier of carbon fibre; EireComposites – an innovative SME manufacturer; and Suzlon Blade Technology an offshore wind turbine manufacturer to meet these project goals.

For offshore wind turbines blades, the project goal will be achieved by reducing the quantity of expensive carbon fibre in the blade spar caps by providing materials and processes that use the material to its full advantage. This will be done by improving fibre straightness and eliminating wrinkles currently seen in wind turbine blade production, though process and fibre improvement.

Cost effective mass-manufacture of tidal turbine blades will be developed by providing materials and processes that can meet the challenges of a) the large laminate thickness required to withstand the high bending and torsional loads in tidal turbine blades; and b) the rapid transition section on tidal turbine blades from large diameter hubs to relatively flat aerofoil sections.

To allow the development of competitive composite materials and processing technologies for the marine renewable energy sector, the specific scientific and technological objectives of MARINCOMP are to:

1. Develop a manufacturing process for optimisation of thick (up to 150mm) carbon fibre structures using a novel powder-epoxy formulation (WPs 2,3 & 5)

2. Develop the in-situ cure monitoring of thick (up to 150mm) carbon-fibre laminates using fibre-optic and associated sensing technologies (WP 3 & 5)

3. Develop a database of composite durability properties in fatigue and seawater immersion and employ it in offshore wind blade designs (WP 2, 3 & 4)

4. Develop 3-D stitched carbon fabrics for transition regions of both tidal turbine and offshore wind turbine blades (WP 2, 3 & 5)

5. Develop a cost-performance-processing model for composites usage in marine renewable energy (WP 1 & 4)