The EU is committed to generating 20% of it energy from renewable sources by 2020, and 50% by 2050. Wind energy is the cheapest and technologically most straightforward way to generate the majority of this energy. As a result for this the amount of wind energy installed in the EU is predicted to increase from its current level of 56,000 MW to 300,000 MW by 2030, equating to the installation of over 80,000 wind turbines.
Due to the very large radar cross section of the turbines and the motion of the rotating blades, these turbines have a detrimental effect on civilian radar navigations systems and there is growing concern about the potential problems which wind turbines may have on passenger safety. Due to space limitations, wind turbines are increasingly being located in areas close to the main shipping lanes and aviation flight paths and wind farm planning applications are increasingly being rejected. As a result of the radar interference issues, wind energy companies are desperately looking for a solution. Although both electronic radar solutions and the use of Radar Absorbing Materials (RAMs) coated onto the turbines have been considered, no cost-effective solution has as yet been produced. Current RAMs are far too expensive and their performance is not sufficient for wind turbine applications.
The proposed OSGRAM project will develop an innovative continuous process for the production of intrinsically conductive polymers (ICPs) whose radar absorbing properties can be accurately tailored.
The ICPs will be used to produce a multilayer RAM that can achieve radar attenuation of 20dB in the S- and X-bands and which can be applied to wind turbine towers, nacelles and blades with a weight of <4kg/sq.m and a cost of 125(Euros)/sq.m. This will allow our SME consortium to develop world-leading RAMs, giving us global market leadership and leading to sales in excess of 80 million Euros 5 years after the project ends and increase profits across the consortium.