CORNET Project HyBlade – Hydroformed blades for meshes of vertical axis wind turbines

c_Fraunhofer_IWUGenerating eco-friendly power with metal rotor blades

Wind energy is a reliable way to further increase renewable energy in the power capacity mix. However, the on-shore ground surface area where wind turbines can be built is limited and the fibre-reinforced plastics often used in rotor blades are nearly impossible to recycle. The German/Flemish CORNET Project HyBlade is working on a solution to optimise the arrangement of turbines using hydroformed blades made of metal that can be almost fully recycled. For this successful effort, the innovative production technology investigated in the HyBlade project was honoured with the Steel Innovation Award 2015 in the category “climate protection with steel”.

Optimal arrangement meets cost effectiveness and recyclability

The current state-of-the-art solution for an on-shore windpark is horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) that need a large inter-turbine spacing. The answer to better use of the limited ground surface is vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) that can be built in tight arrays with alternating directions of rotation. When VAWTs are combined in a specific mesh, the energy output of the limited ground surface area can be increased several times compared to HAWTs. However, the process for a mass production of VAWT blades made out of plastics is not competitive. Blades made out of metal would facilitate the production process and cost significantly less compared to plastic blades. Moreover, as metal is easy to recycle the whole life cycle analysis of wind turbines would be as green as the wind energy itself.

c_Fraunhofer_IWU_Turbine_full_rendered_combinedBusiness opportunities for the whole sheet metal industry

As main outcomes of the CORNET Project HyBlade, real size demonstrators will be built by an innovative manufacturing process combination and afterwards measured in a field test. The joint research project offers opportunities for the sheet metal industry by opening up a new market. Equally, the energy sector will benefit from the increase in energy output and the accessibility of areas which are currently not suitable for wind turbines.

Contact person: Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Marco Pröhl, Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, Tel: +49 371 5397-1180, Email:

Participants from Germany

  • EFB – European Research Association for Sheet Metal Working – Coordinating association
  • FhG IWU – Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology – Research organisation

Participants from Belgium-Flanders

  • VUB – Free University of Brussels – Participating association and research organisation

©pictures: Fraunhofer IWU/HyBlade