As rotor blades exceed the 75-m mark, they will demand more advanced materials that offer a better strength-to-weight ratio and improved stiffness and tensile strength. Mixtures of composites such as fiberglass and carbon fiber show promise for these applications.
JEC, the largest composites industry organization, aims to advance knowledge and networking within the business – leading to thought-sharing that could make larger diameter rotors more feasible. The organization recently convened many of North America’s composite manufactures and experts at JEC Americas 2013 in Boston. At the show, Windpower Engineering and Development sat down with Frédérique Mutel, president and CEO of the organization, to discuss the role of the wind industry in composites.
She and other leaders talked about the role of composites in many industries, especially transportation. In the wind industry, however, composites are playing a key role in lower lifecycle costs, a driver for development. The overall Americas market for advanced composites in the wind energy sector is set to tripel to $25.8 billion in 2020.
In opening remarks, Mutel announced a partnership with Messe Frankfurt, a global tradeshow organizer. The partnership will let the groups co-locate next year’s JEC Americas show with Techtextil North America and Texprocess Americas. The conferences will be held in May 2014.
“The Americas are a beacon for industry players who wish to complete and thrive in the largest worldwide markets,” Mutel said. “Teaming up with Messe Frankfurt allows a strong presentation of technical textiles and composites that will drive both industries forward.”
North America represents the second-largest market share for composites in the world, at 34%, according to the JEC. On top is Asia, boosted by the construction industry. Globally, wind energy accounted for 4% of the composites market in 2012.
JEC has awarded several wind companies in the past for their innovative use of composites. Among them, Spain’s Gamesa received the JEC Award in 2012 for innovations to its G10X composite blade reinforced with carbon fiber and glass fiber. The blade is modular and light, facilitiating transport and assembly in difficult terrains.
In 2010, LTP was awarded for its wind turbine used to supply public lighting systems. It was made entirely from natural, biodegradable materials, such as flax fabric.
JEC’s six fields of expertise
1. Information channels
Every day, JEC’s editorial and marketing teams collect and provide information on scientific, technical, and economic topics across the composites industry, publishing a print and digital magazine.
2. Learning resources
The group organizes events throughout the year to exchange experience and first-hand information.
3. Business intelligence
JEC provides analysis and information on present and future markets, as well as highlighting trends in the industry through studies and webinars.
4. Publications library
The group offers strategic studies, technical books, buyers’ guides through its websites.
5. Innovation programs
Aiming to promote composites, JEC gains attention in the media with its innovation awards and showcases.
The most visible part of the its mission, JEC holds conferences and shows in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It also hosts job centers and business meetings.