Sicominhas  developed what it says is the world’s largest natural fiber composite (NFC) structure.
Sicominhas developed what it says is the world’s largest natural fiber composite (NFC) structure.

Sicomin and boat manufacturer Greenboats have developed what they say is the world’s largest natural fiber composite (NFC) structure.

The nacelle, intended for an offshore wind turbine, features Sicomin’s bio-based resins, intumescent FR gelcoats and UV resistant clear coatings, the company said. While the bio-based epoxy was used to infuse flax fiber reinforcements and balsa cores, the intumescent weatherproof gelcoat was applied on the outer surface. Cured panels were cut to shape, formed over a male plug and bonded together, before flax reinforcement plies, hand laminated with GreenPoxy resins and vacuum bagged, were added along all the panel joints lines. Finally, Sicomin UV resistant clear coating products were used to protect and improve the finish of the flax fiber feature stripe details.

The 7.3 m long structure has a surface area of approximately 100m2 and meets all DNV-GL load cases required for an offshore turbine nacelle, including 200km/h max wind loads and 2KN loads on the guard rails.

‘With more than 2.5 million tons of composite materials in use in the wind industry globally, and the first generation of wind turbines now approaching end of life, there is still a lack of well-established recycling options,’ a press release said. ‘Greenboats’ mission is to demonstrate how large-scale NFC structures in wind energy can lower energy consumption in manufacturing and significantly improve the sustainability of the composite materials used in the turbine.’he nacelle will first be installed for tests in the Harbor of Rotterdam, Sicomin said.

This story uses material from Sicomin, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.