Wind Turbine Composites are being progressively used in the manufacture of wind turbine components. Superior mechanical properties, decreased operating expenditure, and a long lifespan has resulted in its increased use in the wind energy industry. Also, the lightweight property of composites enable the blades to rotate faster than other materials at the same wind speed. Moreover, reduced weight of turbine leads to less robust turbine requirements.
The major drivers are a shift towards renewable sources of energy in developed markets of Europe and North America. The increased lifespan and low operating expenditures have enabled it to be used in offshore wind energy installations as well. The major challenges are the high cost of composites and issue of reuse and recyclability of composite materials.
Wind Turbine Composites Market Taxonomy
On the basis of fiber, the wind turbine composites market is segmented as-
- Glass Fiber
- Carbon Fiber
- Aramid Fiber
- Basalt Fiber
- Hybrid Fiber
On the basis of resin type, the wind turbine composites market is segmented as-
- Epoxy resin
- Polyester resin
On the basis of manufacturing process, the wind turbine composites market is segmented as-
- Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM)
- Hand Lay-up
On the basis of wind turbine component, the wind turbine composites market is segmented as-
Glass and carbon fibers are the most commonly used fibers. Glass fiber is the most commonly used composite material for wind energy equipment. It is cheaper and less brittle compared to carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has superior mechanical properties such as high strength, lightweight, and corrosion resistance.
Pre-preg process involves reinforcing a fiber with a pre-impregnated resin. Pre-preg requires less curing time, less waste generation, and provides superior strength properties. VARTM process is quicker as it combines and cures the fiber and resins in one step. Also, the process is cost affective and has a scope for automation which has potential to further drive down costs. Hand lay-up is an open molding process, as it involves placing of mold by hand and wetting with resin. Although, it is the cheapest manufacturing process and is susceptible to manufacturing defects.
Wind Turbine Composites Market Outlook
- Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region in the wind turbine composites market. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, China alone has installed 23.4 GW of new capacity. The growing market in China is a result of a vision to become energy dependent and sustainable. However, China is highly dependent on hydrocarbon imports from Middle East countries. Also, concerns regarding air quality due to coal emissions has led to the shift towards the use of renewable energy.
- Europe saw an increase of 1,558 MW of offshore wind installations. Germany and U.K are the major players in the European wind energy market. Strict regulation regarding emissions and carbon footprint has resulted in increased renewable energy development. In 2016, wind energy crossed coal to become the second largest power generator after natural gas.
- North America is a major player in wind energy. The Southwest Power Pool which provides power to 14 states in the central U.S was served by wind energy for 52.1% of the grid’s load. Although, low shale gas prices in the U.S has resulted in the slowdown of investments in renewable sources of energy.
- The Middle East and North Africa are emerging markets for wind energy. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE are the major players in this region. The region has tremendous potential but growth is slow due to large hydrocarbon reserves in the region.
- Latin America is a world leader in renewable resources with 52% of energy production from renewable sources. Although, hydropower accounted for the major share. Moreover, lack of abundant hydrocarbon reserves has driven the growth for wind energy market.
Key Players in the Wind Turbine Composites Market
Key players in the wind composites market include Toray Industries, Cytec Industries Inc., Royal TenCate nv, Gurit Holding AG, Hexel Corporation, and Teijin Limited, TPI Composites, Inc., Gamesa Corporation Technology, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, and Suzlon Energy Limited
Wind Turbine Composites Market: Key developments
- In October 2018, Gurit acquired JSB Group a/S with the objective of enhancing their offerings associated with wind energy. The expertise of JSB group would be helpful in offering material kits for wind turbine blades with manufacturing facilities in different regions of the world. JSB’s business operations will be formulated as another business unit under Gurit with no changes in the brand name.
- In March 2018, Toray Industries, Inc. acquired Koninklijke Ten Cate bv’s subsidiary “TenCate Advanced Composites Holding B.V.” This acquisition would be helpful in gaining benefits from their expertise in the manufacturing of thermoplastics and thermoset prepreg. This acquisition help in expansion of technological and product capabilities of TORAY in combination with TenCate.
- In 2016, Gamesa Corp supplied 94 wind turbines to DONG Energy for the Borselle 1 and 2 wind project in the Netherlands. The project has boosted the wind turbines composites market in Europe.