Structural Characterization of Deployed Thermoplastic and Thermoset Composite Tidal Turbine Blades

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory worked with Verdant Power to manufacture, and characterize, novel thermoplastic composite blades on their Gen5d 5 m diameter turbines at the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) site in the East River in N.Y. to demonstrate a low-cost manufacturing process for marine energy structures. Verdant had designed, manufactured, and deployed epoxy thermoset composite blades on three Gen5d turbines in October 2020. At a maintenance cycle in May 2021, a Gen5d turbine equipped with the NREL thermoplastic blades was deployed and retrieved in October 2021. Modal, static and fatigue structural characterization was performed on both blade types before and after the deployment. The static and modal test results showed that the thermoplastic blades were slightly stiffer than the epoxy blades both dry and after the deployment. The epoxy blades had about 8% increase in strain at the applied load after the deployment, whereas the thermoplastic blade strains were not changed significantly. Ultimately the thermoplastic blade failed during fatigue testing due to a crack which is thought to have initiated between the internal foam and the laminate at the location of the internal instrumentation. The Verdant Power Gen5d epoxy blades did not have this internal instrumentation and did not have this failure, performing adequately through the operational period. A lack of design information and fatigue data for both the thermoplastic laminates and the adhesive used means that further work is needed to fully understand his failure and the root cause analysis is ongoing. This paper provides details on the thermoplastic blade manufacturing, materials, test methodology and results.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5000-88713


  • blade test
  • post-deployment
  • thermoplastic blade
  • tidal turbine blade
  • Verdant Power


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