Knoxville, TN, January 17, 2016… The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, IACMI, a Manufacturing USA institute driven by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the U.S. Department of Energy, in partnership with Johns Manville, Arkema Inc., TPI Composites Inc., National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado School of Mines (CSM), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Vanderbilt University and Purdue University, announces a current project focused on thermoplastic composite advancements for wind turbine blades. Developments in thermoplastic materials help enable large-scale production at lower costs, increase end-of-life recyclability and aid in job creation for American workers.
Thermoset composites reinforced by fiber are the current material of choice for large-scale wind turbine components; however, challenges in manufacturing costs, performance, and recyclability are limiting. IACMI will investigate new developments in thermoplastic materials with industry partners to lower production costs, improve recyclability of wind turbine blades and expand applicability to components demonstrated at large scale. The long term impact could reduce costs and improve reliability in composite structures, which allow for process improvements on a larger scale, increasing energy efficiency.
“Partnering with industry leaders to advance thermoplastic-based composites will allow us to reach ambitious technical impact goals,” said Bryan Dods, IACMI-The Composites Institute CEO. “These upcoming advancements will reduce life cycle energy use and strengthen manufacturing innovations in wind turbine blade production.”
Project partners include: new industry partner Arkema, Inc., who will expand the work plan to include their innovative Elium® resin system—a novel thermoplastic liquid resin that makes it possible to produce continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic parts using typical closed mold thermoset processes, and the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) teams from Vanderbilt University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Simulation tools will be developed in conjunction with Purdue University and Convergent Manufacturing Technologies. A newly commissioned facility at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) lab, will fabricate proof of concept panels in conjunction with Johns Manville and Arkema, while the NREL National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) will manufacture full-scale blade components in the new Composites Manufacturing Education and Technology (CoMET) facility.
About IACMI-The Composites Institute: The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate development and commercial deployment of advanced composites. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national institute is supported by a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, and over $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners. Find out more at IACMI.org.
About Johns Manville
Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium-quality products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing, and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications. JM serves markets that include aerospace, automotive and transportation, air handling, appliance, HVAC, pipe and equipment, filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. In business since 1858, the Denver-based company has annual sales of nearly $3 billion and holds leadership positions in many of the key markets that it serves. JM employs approximately 7,000 people and operates 44 manufacturing facilities. Learn more at www.jm.com.
Arkema Inc. is a global chemicals and materials manufacturing company that operates 34 facilities in 19 states, with a U.S. headquarters, and Research and Development Center in King of Prussia, PA. Its parent company, Arkema S.A., is headquartered in Colombes, France. Arkema supplies products and develops materials for many key markets, with a particular strategic emphasis on providing solutions to address six emerging global trends: renewable raw materials, water management, solutions for electronics, new energies, building performance and insulation, and lightweight materials and design. With operations in more than 50 countries, some 19,000 employees and 3 geographic R&D clusters, Arkema generates an annual revenue of approximately $8.4B, and holds leadership positions in 90% of its sales with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands.
About TPI Composites, Inc.
TPI Composites, Inc. is the largest U.S.-based independent manufacturer of composite wind blades for the wind energy market. TPI also provides structural composite products to the transportation market. TPI delivers high-quality, cost effective composite solutions through long term relationships with leading wind turbine manufacturers. For more information about TPI, go to tpicomposites.com.