DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Montana State University completed a two-year WETO-funded study that demonstrates the commercial viability of cost-competitive carbon fiber composites selected for use in wind turbine blades.

The analysis found commercial viability and system-level benefits for using carbon fiber composites to reduce the overall cost of wind energy and manufacture long, slender wind turbine blades. The project revealed a 25% blade mass reduction when using carbon fiber spar caps compared to fiberglass. While wind manufacturers have historically avoided using carbon fiber due to its higher cost, the new textile-based carbon fiber material used for spar caps in this study cost 40% less than commercial carbon fiber—potentially enabling the broader adoption of carbon fiber materials in wind turbine blade design with the potential to reduce system costs.

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