Covestro, a leading supplier of innovative and sustainable material solutions, is a winner of the JEC Innovation Award 2021 in the "Sustainability" category. With the award, the jury recognised the company´s polyurethane (PU) infusion resins for the efficient production of wind rotor blades and coatings for offshore wind turbines. For 25 years, the JEC Innovation Award has been a leading award for the development and application of composite materials.
"Covestro takes the award as an honour but also as a responsibilty to deliver on its Circular Economy vision. Enabling growth for the global wind industry is one of the company’s major goals," said Dirk Soontjens, Head of Covestro's Global Wind Energy Program, at the award ceremony. "The productivity and good mechanical properties of the resin system also provide the opportunity to design longer and more durable blades to achieve higher annual energy production and lower energy costs, while removing roadblocks that the industry faces."
More efficient production of rotor blades
The processing and mechanical properties of Covestro's PU were studied through prototyping and advanced computer simulations. Thanks to their low viscosity at room temperature and high reactivity at elevated temperatures, they enable rapid infusion and curing. Compared with epoxy resins, this leads to significantly shorter rotor blade production cycles. Together with the potential for weight savings and their resistance, the PU resins reduce total cost of ownership by increasing energy efficiency and lowering manufacturing and maintenance costs.
In addition, several Covestro coating solutions for offshore wind turbines were included in the case presented for the JEC Innovation Award. These include a solvent-free gelcoat, a waterborne 2-component topcoat and a polyaspartic-based leading edge protection coating. The systems feature excellent adhesion properties on PU composites and were successfully tested under simulated offshore conditions. They facilitate the manufacturing process for rotor blades and thus improve the productivity of wind turbines.