NREL develops patent-pending thermal welding process for wind turbines

Image: PixabayImage: Pixabay
While thermal welding offers benefits, it also requires adding within the blade a metal heating element—which can attract lightning. As a result, a team of NREL researchers invented a new lightning protection system to keep the novel thermoplastic materials safe.

Official Press Release NREL:

Lightning No Match for Wind Turbine Blade Protection System

Research Opens Doors to Patent-Pending Thermal Welding Process

Standing hundreds of feet above ground, wind turbines—like tall trees, buildings, and telephone poles—are easy targets for lightning. Just by virtue of their height, they will get struck. Lightning protection systems exist for conventional wind turbine blades. But protection was needed for blades made from a new type of material—thermoplastic resin composites—and manufactured using an innovative thermal (heat-based) welding process developed by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Thermoplastic materials, like plastic bottles, can be more easily recycled than the thermoset materials commonly used to make wind turbine blades today. While thermoset... ... More: Official Press Release NREL

NREL, research, lightning, turbine, wind farm, USA, thermal wielding process, turbine blade protection system, rotor blade, composite

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