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Deakin partners with Vestas to advance composites science

Deakin University will partner with leading wind energy solution provider, Vestas, to improve the compressive strength of carbon fibre composite materials for wind turbines.

Deakin Carbon Nexus Director Derek Buckmaster today joined Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand, Peter Cowling and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio at the University’s Waurn Ponds Campus for an official signing agreement to collaborate to develop better and stronger materials in Victoria.

Mr Buckmaster said that along with the potential to improve wind turbine performance, the partnership underscored possible expansion of Geelong’s composite research and manufacturing footprint and would help Victoria achieve its Renewable Energy Target (VRET).

Deakin University’s Prof Russell Varley, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Hon Lily D’Ambrosio and Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand, Peter Cowling.

“We are delighted to work with Vestas to achieve these goals,” Mr Buckmaster said.

“The combination of Deakin’s research expertise from the world-leading composites research team at Carbon Nexus, and Vestas’ industry capabilities, has the potential to take composite materials research to the next level, delivering real world outcomes for Victoria.”

Carbon fibre composites are critical material to the further improvement of wind turbine blades, due to their unmatched strength-to-weight ratio, enabling the manufacture of longer blades which improve efficiency and lower cost.

The uptake of carbon fibre composites has been one of the main drivers behind the increased turbine efficiency and competitiveness of wind power in recent years. Turbine blades are now the largest single use for carbon fibre, accounting for over 40 per cent of global production.

Vestas Asia Pacific President Clive Turton noted the importance of the Victorian Government’s renewable energy targets and auction strategy to the local renewable energy industry.

“Improved composite material will bring revolutionary benefit to renewable industry locally and globally. By improving efficiency and driving down the cost of wind turbines, we are providing Victoria, Australia and the world with clean and more affordable energy,” Mr Turton said.

“Breakthroughs in composite materials will benefit the wind industry, and may deliver significant commercial outcomes in other industries.”

“Our new partnership leverages Deakin University’s leadership in carbon fibre composites and Vestas’ expertise as a leading global player in the wind energy sector. It is a powerful combination that will position Geelong and Victoria at the forefront of wind energy innovation and commercialisation.”

Dr Adrian Gill, global lead specialist for blade structure and material at Vestas, noted the importance of investing in further materials research.

“With carbon fibre composite innovations, we can increase the performance of turbine blades. Stronger carbon fibre will allow us to reduce the required amount of carbon fibre used in the blade, so the blade will be lighter and cheaper. This makes renewable energy cleaner and more affordable, and supporting the development of Australia’s growing wind energy sector,” Dr Gill said.

The $34m Carbon Nexus research facility has already attracted many local innovative carbon fibre parts manufacturers such as Carbon Revolution and Quickstep, and global carbon fibre manufacturer LeMond. With strong State Government support, Geelong is fast becoming a globally relevant centre of excellence for composite research and advanced carbon fibre-based manufacturing.

The research with Vestas is conditional on awards to Vestas Supported Projects under the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme.

Media contacts:

Vestas Australia & New Zealand Rebecca Zhang
+61 3 86987339

Deakin University
Rebecca Tucker +61 3 52278568

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