Carbon fiber is also ideal for wind generation requiring larger, rigid blades. Carbon fiber composite materials are also friendly to the global environment.
Installation of wind generation facilities is picking up pace primarily in Europe, as wind generation is one leading source of clean energy. Wind generators traditionally used glass fiber composite materials for their rotary blades, but larger blades are needed for better wind generation efficiency and large-scale generation on limited land. Larger blades present greater risk of hitting the support column and getting damaged by deflecting while turning and also due to wind force; accordingly, use of carbon fiber composite materials offering high rigidity is a must.
Currently blades exceeding 50 m (for windmills of 100 m or more in diameter) are installed and their size is increasing further, and a lot of carbon fiber is used in these large blades. Carbon fiber is used for the beam positioned at the center of the blade to determine the rigidity of the blade, and this carbon fiber beam is combined with the GFRP surface to constitute the blade. Since efficient, clean wind generation requires the high specific strength and high specific modulus of elasticity of carbon fiber, more carbon fiber is used per windmill and consequently wind generation promises to grow significantly as a key application field for carbon fiber.