WEBCORE IP, INC.
The overall purpose of the project is to advance the commercial adoption of WebCore’s sandwich core products into utility-scale wind turbine blade manufacturing, thereby providing reductions to blade cost and weight which will reduce the cost of wind energy. WebCore’s TYCOR? W fiber-reinforced-core (FRC) products for the blade application have been demonstrated to have a superior combination of low cost, light weight, and high structural properties compared to the current leading core materials used in blades (end-grain balsa wood, and rigid foams including PVC and SAN).
This project will serve to address remaining impediments to large scale commercial adoption of FRC through the following four tasks.
Task 1: Establish High-Volume Manufacturing and Operational Capacity. Under this task, several minor equipment upgrades and one new piece of primary equipment will be developed and integrated to complete the high-volume, low-cost manufacturing line for TYCOR? W. When this task is complete during Year 1 of the project, WebCore will have validated a production rate of 5000 sq. ft per shift.
Task 2: Product Engineering. Under this task, the TYCOR W product line (currently W1, W2, W3, and W4) will be expanded to address several identified and emerging customer needs, such as extra-high-property cores, high-process-temperature-cores, and ultra-light-rigid cores for shear webs. Full product definition for each product will be accomplished along with engineering data as required for customer engineering. The outcome of this task will be: (1) One or more releases of new TYCOR W products (based on current design and manufacturing technologies), fully matured with product, material, and manufacturing specifications, and customer use guides; (2) Multiple releases of technical marketing data reflecting properties of interest to blade customers; and (3) Development of solutions for customer use-features, such as seaming techniques, hold-down techniques, methods for core thickness transitions and edge closeouts.
3) Customer Support. This task will support the general engagement with customers regarding the understanding of and engineering with FRC as necessary to achieve product sales. This will include both general technical marketing and sales activities, and customer-specific activities to validate FRC with respect to requirements and qualify FRC for specific blade designs. The outcome of general technical marketing and sales activities will include: (1) Presentations at technical conferences; and (2) Engagement by blade designers and developers in the evaluation of FRC. The outcome for direct customer support will be the qualification and certification of FRC for use in the manufacture of specific commercial blade designs.
4) Expanded Product Offerings for Emerging Blade Needs. Under this task, WebCore will use market information obtained from customer and industry engagement to establish requirements for new FRC technologies to better meet the needs of the blade application, and to develop products which meet those needs. The outcome of this task will be, (1) Product Definition Document(s) (PDD) that specify the general performance, functional, and economic requirements for a new FRC product(s) (not achievable with current design and manufacturing technologies), and (2) Demonstrated product concepts that meet requirements in the PDD, including test data, and a demonstration of salient features of the manufacturing process(es).