KurvedCores: The Ambition is to Lighten Wind Turbine Blade Cores

8. May 2024

A partnership of companies and researchers will save up to 3 kilograms per square meter of wind turbine blade. This will happen in the new collaboration KurvedCores, where the goal is to introduce a fully automated production process in the wind industry to replace manual production of wind turbine cores with automated robotic arms, sensors, and 3D technology.

Work on wind turbine blades may become much easier in a few years.

This applies both to the production of the blade’s composite core and to the total weight of the blade, which can be significantly reduced with automated processes. Christian Raun, CEO and founder of the company Kurvatur and partner in the innovation project KurvedCores, explains.

“For the past 30 years, the manufacturing of the blade core, which primarily consists of fiberglass and the binder resin, has been done manually with so-called lattice-cut core sets. Our technology is fully automatic and can replace the manual processes with quickly designed panels, sensor technology, and robotics that can function as smart pieces in the 3D puzzle that blade production will become in the future,” says Christian Raun.

He highlights shorter production time, reduced use of resin, lighter blades, and a better climate and environmental footprint as benefits of the collaboration in the KurvedCores project.

“By saving 2-3 kilograms per square meter of the blade’s total weight, the blade can be made longer without compromising on load – and a longer blade means more green electricity. At the same time, we can ensure that the resin flows only where it is needed in the blade. This also ensures cost savings for the manufacturers and improves the environmental footprint of the blade,” says Christian Raun.

Researchers’ Philosophy

The innovation project KurvedCores is supported by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) and is facilitated by the Danish energy cluster, Energy Cluster Denmark.

In addition to Kurvatur, the project involves the company Blue Consulting, which specializes in strategy work and business development, as well as Aarhus University and the Center for Large Structure Production at the University of Southern Denmark. Here, researchers contribute knowledge about automation and other digital processes for fully automatic production lines for various industries, explains Christian Schlette, professor at the University of Southern Denmark.

“We are happy to contribute our knowledge of industrial production, for example, about digital twins, where we simulate the actual production with a digital copy. Later in KurvedCores, we will also develop a prototype of the 3D technology, which we will help implement in a real production line. Our philosophy is based on the idea that knowledge and flexible information are key to success – also when it comes to green transition. You can have as many robots as you want, but industry knowledge is the starting point for using them,” says Christian Schlette.

Blades for Benefit

The Danish energy cluster, Energy Cluster Denmark, is responsible for facilitating the KurvedCores project. According to Glenda Napier, CEO of Energy Cluster Denmark, the collaboration is a good example of how it pays to integrate various technological competencies.

“It is important that our companies and researchers use their efforts in the best possible way on what creates the most value. Therefore, it is very positive that we can help the partners in KurvedCores towards their goal of increasing automation in the production of blades. When something new is introduced, it always takes time. We will do our best to reduce that time and thereby accelerate innovation in society,” says Glenda Napier.

This point is also important for Christian Raun from Kurvatur.

“The projections for the development of the wind industry look promising – in Denmark and abroad. We are introducing a production initiative for blades that can be used globally, and we therefore expect to become part of the wind industry in Poland, France, Canada, the USA, and other countries where development is happening rapidly. At the same time, as a local company based in Haderslev, we also want to develop our local area and create knowledge-intensive, competitive jobs in our own region. We also expect the current innovation project to contribute to this,” says Christian Raun.

Facts about KurvedCores

The innovation project KurvedCores began in 2024 and ends in 2026. The collaboration is supported by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) with 10.2 million kroner and has a total budget of 14.8 million kroner.

The partners are Kurvatur, Blue Consulting, Aarhus University, and the University of Southern Denmark. Energy Cluster Denmark facilitates the project.

Ingen rækker fundet.