General Electric (GE) is in the process of creating fabric blades for wind turbines. They are looking at glass-based fabrics combined with a soft, rubbery resin, giving the material or fabric some flexibility. That flexibility will make it more resilient than stiff fiberglass, which will in turn allow GE to use less material, reducing materials costs and weight.
Most wind turbine blades today are made of fiberglass and this could be, dare I say a game changer? GE has said that favoring fabric over fiberglass could also ease wind turbine blade production costs by an impressive 25 to 40 percent.
“GE’s weaving an advanced wind blade that could be the fabric of our clean energy future,” said Wendy Lin, a GE Principal Engineer and leader on the ARPA-E project. “The fabric we’re developing will be tough, flexible, and easier to assemble and maintain. It represents a clear path to making wind even more cost competitive with fossil fuels.”
As someone who has worked in the wind industry
since the 90’s, I am all for improvements within the industry, especially if it will help ease our dependence off of fossil fuels.