SIS Supplier FiberCore Europe Manufactures 1000th FRP Bridge

FiberCore Europe Manufactures 1000th FRP Bridge – A special moment in the development of prefabricated #FRP bridges: the 1000th prefabricated FRP bridge with InfraCore® Inside by FiberCore Europe has been ordered. The bridge represents a milestone in the young history of FRP as a construction material for the construction of bridges. FiberCore was at the cradle of this revolutionary development. 1000 bridges is a milestone that SIS has assisted FiberCore Europe in achieving as these revolutionary structures have been shipped to all corners of the globe including #Australia. With each project, FiberCore took a step closer to the recognition of FRP as a building material in infrastructure. FRP is now a recognized building material in bridge construction & infrastructure. FiberCore bridges with InfraCore® Inside are built to fit within the Eurocode and the CUR 96: 2019; the European standards for safe construction. The bridges are sustainable, maintenance-free and suitable for a circular economy; they are completely & easily repositionable. And that’s not a bad idea, with bridges that last more than 100 years. #Infrastructure of the future. Proudly brought to the Nations of Oceania by Sustainable Infrastructure Systems

FRP Wave Attenuation System

SIS has recently completed a project in conjunction with Engineered Water Systems of Perth, Western Australia. A wave attenuation system was constructed using SIS FRP components due to their high strength and non corrosive nature. This is an extremely effective and durable system designed for the mitigation of wave energy where permanent type breakwaters are not acceptable or cost effective. Waves, and wakes formed from passing boat traffic, can violently rock harboured crafts making it difficult for their owners to enjoy them while in port.

Bass Coast Shire Boardwalk

SIS has recently completed a recycled wood plastic composite (WPC) boardwalk for the Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island, Victoria. In Conjunction with GHD Engineers and ADA Construction Services, the completed structure has used nearly 30,000 kg’s of post consumer plastic and timber waste and diverted it from landfill. A full set of project photographs can be found at the following link:

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope #FRP

Northrop Grumman and teammate ATK have completed manufacturing of the backplane support frame (BSF) for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Northrop Grumman is under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., for the design and development of the Webb Telescope’s optics, sunshield and spacecraft.

When combined with the centre section and wings, the support frame will form the primary mirror backplane support structure, the stable platform that holds the telescope’s beryllium mirrors, instruments and other elements. It holds the 18-segment, 21-foot-diameter primary mirror nearly motionless while the telescope is peering into deep space. The backplane support frame is the backbone of the observatory, is the primary load carrying structure for launch, and holds the science instruments.

Living in Sustainable Cities of the Future

Masdar City, United Arab Emirates – This gleaming example of sustainable urban living just 17km east of Abu Dhabi is currently more university and business campus than metropolis, but when Masdar City is complete in 2025, it will be home to 40,000 residents and 50,000 commuters. The city’s master plan, designed by the architects Foster + Partners, put roads underground (and bans cars that use petrol), allowing for very narrow pedestrian streets that capture and funnel the breezes, aided and shaded by thick city walls, a technique Arab builders have used for centuries. The city’s modern elements come in the renewable energy and clean tech sources being developed at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which currently houses 250 students on campus. The city is completely powered by renewable energy sources such as solar, and the buildings are being constructed with recycled materials, including steel and aluminium. Energy and potable water demands have been reduced by more than 50%, using a quarter of the energy of a conventional city the same size. “We are addressing social, economic and environmental sustainability and also making sure it’s affordable,” said Omar Zaafrani, communications manager for Masdar City. The building that houses both the Masdar and International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters will have stores and restaurants in addition to office space, powered by 1,000sqm of photovoltaic panels. While no residential buildings beyond dormitories have been built, they are in the works. “There are various residential plots around the city, and over the coming years they will be tendered out to global architects,” Zaafrani explained. The city’s economic free zone – with zero taxes, import tariffs or restrictions on foreign hires – is set up to specifically attract clean energy and tech companies, clustering them together in incubator office buildings. “The number one target is people who work in Abu Dhabi and around the UAE,” Zaafrani said. “We are trying to make sure as we build up the city, there will be demand for both commercial and residential spaces.” Currently, a four-bedroom villa in central Abu Dhabi rents for around 200,000 dirhams a year, while a two-bedroom flat in Reem Island rents for around 100,000 dirhams. Over the next two years, 45,000 new flats and houses will come available.

New York to Spend Billions on Climate Resiliency

Nearly eight months after Hurricane Sandy slammed the north-eastern United States, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a far-reaching $20 billion plan to build flood barriers and “green infrastructure” to protect low-lying areas of Manhattan from future superstorms.

Following Sandy, the mayor appointed a task force to assess the city’s vulnerability. In a report released this week based on its recommendations, the mayor cited scientists’ predictions that sea levels could rise as much as 31 inches by 2050, accompanied by severe storms and prolonged spells of extreme heat and cold.

“Hurricane Sandy made it all too clear that, no matter how far we’ve come, we still face real, immediate threats,” Bloomberg said in a speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the same location where IceStone, a Sustainable Industries-profiled company, was nearly wiped out following Sandy (in this case, workers rallied to restore the factory). “Much of the work will extend far beyond the next 200 days — but we refuse to pass the responsibility for creating a plan onto the next administration. This is urgent work, and it must begin now.”

Bloomberg’s recommendations are highlighted by “green infrastructure” projects, including supporting renewable and distributed energy generation systems, planting more trees and vegetation on streets and rooftops, upgrading building codes, enhancing natural wetlands, and refurbishing drainage systems to manage runoff. The mayor also  appointed a “director of resilience” named Daniel Zarilli.

The plan is heavy on construction of stormwalls and barriers, but Bloomberg suggested these could come in the form of elevated parks and boardwalks.

The mayor’s report was endorsed by a cadre of business and environmental organizations, including the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, Real Estate Board of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Building Resiliency Task Force, The Rockefeller Foundation, NRDC, New York Smart Grid Consortium, the American Institute of Architects New York chapter, and the region’s largest energy utility, Con Edision.

“These new guidelines place New York City at the forefront of thinking on resiliency relevant for coastal communities around the world,” said Christopher Collins, executive director of Solar One. “This continues a series of strategic steps that the Bloomberg administration has taken, including investment in new, sustainable building models, to help create a new paradigm for construction that addresses both the fact of climate change, as well as the need for renewable and sustainable practices.”

How will New York pay for it all? The city can rely on $10 billion in city capital funding and federal aid, and another $5 billion in U.S. disaster relief, the mayor said. Additional federal funding and capital raised through the sale of municipal bonds would be needed to cover the remaining $4.5 billion, he added. The plan outlines a number of ways to raise the additional billions that would be required for the plan to become a reality.

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Pelamis P2 Celebrates 1 Yr of Accelerated Real-Sea Testing

The ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) owned Pelamis P2 wave energy converter has this week completed its first year of a robust testing programme at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

The combined P2 test programme has now accumulated 7500 grid connected operating hours, and exported 160MWh of electricity to the national grid. These are encouraging figures for this stage of the testing programme and it is anticipated that generated powers will continue to rise as the programme develops. These P2 operating hours bring the cumulative total for Pelamis technology up to over 10,000 grid connected operating hours, demonstrating both the extensive experience of the Pelamis team and the wealth of learning delivered by the P2 testing programme specifically.

Following its first installation in May 2012 alongside the E.ON owned Pelamis P2 machine at the Billia Croo test site, the machine has been undergoing a progressive work-up testing programme, being exposed to increasingly large wave conditions for longer deployment periods. An accelerated form of the work-up programme was made possible thanks to the wealth of learning accumulated since the beginning of the E.ON Pelamis P2 demonstration programme in October 2010, and the resulting confidence of both the customer and Pelamis operation teams in this testing approach.

As a result of this accelerated testing strategy, the SPR owned Pelamis P2 wave energy converter was able to generate twice the amount of electricity in half the elapsed calendar time, during its initial test parameters of small to medium seas. In deployments since then, the SPR Pelamis machine has experienced larger seas with significant wave heights of up to 5mHs, including individual waves of over 9m. Electricity generation has increased as anticipated in these larger, more energetic seas.

The proven average output capability of the device, over the annual spectrum of wave conditions at the EMEC site, is now close to 100kW. Demonstrations of further improvements are anticipated through control optimisation which could double that number as targeted for the next stage of the project.

The machines have now experienced around 90% of sea state occurrences for an average year, allowing the Pelamis team to quantify the performance and electricity output of the P2 machines and gain insight into the factors influencing this. This broad range of data from real sea testing is invaluable for the on-going development of the technology, allowing focused design and innovation for future enhancements of the Pelamis machine. These enhancements are vital to ensure that the costs of generating electricity from wave power continue to fall, in order to become cost competitive with other sources of offshore renewable energy. This is an important direction for Pelamis to take as an industry leader. Announced in February, Pelamis is working on a project commissioned and funded by the Energy Technologies Institute investigating a multitude of opportunities for performance enhancement and rapid reduction in cost of energy.

Derrik Robb, Operations Director at Pelamis Wave Power, said: “The results achieved during this testing programme are testament to how far we have progressed, working collaboratively with our customers. The wealth of knowledge and data collected to date has been instrumental in reinforcing our technical understanding of the Pelamis and its control systems and we continue to apply key learning points from one machine to the other, thus reducing time spent addressing first-of-type issues.”

Alan Mortimer, Head of Innovation at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “The past year at EMEC has been an invaluable learning experience for SPR, E.ON and Pelamis.  The collaboration has worked well and all parties have benefited from sharing of information, risks and innovation.

“The creation of the Operations Team and Health & Safety Systems has been a substantial effort this year and now provides the basis for us to explore the performance potential of the P2 machine.  The output of the device is steadily increasing as experience is gained and as the controller is fine-tuned for maximum energy extraction. We anticipate further significant improvements over the next 12 months, with the remainder of the test plan focused on optimising the power produced in the full range of sea-states in order to progress the technology towards commercially-viable status.”

Pelamis’ patented ‘plug & play’ system for the safe and rapid installation and removal of the machines in water has proved its strength and allowed for the towing and installation to be routinely conducted in wave heights of up to 2.5 metres as well as in darkness. This unique feature of the Pelamis P2 machine greatly expands the opportunities for operations and safe intervention, as it allows for flexible, round-the-clock operations, which is particularly important in the waters to the north of Scotland and over the winter months. The two Pelamis machines have been deployed in tandem during winter.

There’s a New Twist in Wind Blades

NSE Composites used Abaqus FEA to validate a Sandia-funded sweep-twist design that captures 12 percent more energy.

The basic physics and economics of wind turbine blades are relatively simple. For one, their power output is roughly proportional to the square of blade length. This relationship pushes designers to create increasingly longer blades for harvesting additional kilowatts. Secondly, as blades get longer, weight increases—by approximately the cube of the length—leading to higher raw material costs. This correlation sends designers in search of weight-efficient geometries that are strong and rigid enough to weather the increased loading inherent in longer blades.

Navigating a maze of engineering challenges such as these can lead to interesting design directions. At the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Research Program at Sandia National Laboratories, the result has been the development of a sweep-twist adaptive rotor (STAR). This innovative curved blade was proposed in earlier theoretical research and had been garnering increasing interest for use in utility-scale applications. The new configuration is seen as a way to reduce operating loads on ever-lengthening blades. If successfully commercialized, the outcome would be larger, lighter, less-expensive, and more productive wind turbines.

In 2004, Knight and Carver (K&C) Wind Group, a San Diego-based wind blade manufacturer, was awarded a DOE contract to develop STAR. Partnering with Sandia, K&C was responsible for design, fabrication, testing, and evaluation of a sweep-twist prototype. They began by assembling a team of specialized companies and academic institutions, one of which was Seattle-based NSE Composites, who were brought on board to perform the finite element modelling (FEM) of the new design.

“NSE had done a lot of analyses over the years on composite aircraft and helicopter aero structures for companies such as Boeing,” says DM Hoyt, one of NSE’s founders. “Plus, we were already troubleshooting another blade problem for K&C and wanted to diversify our customer base to include more renewable energy, so the fit was a good one.”

Hoyt and his partners at NSE have been using Abaqus from SIMULIA, the Dassault Systèmes application for realistic simulation, as their finite element analysis (FEA) tool for years. As their projects moved toward larger and more complex models, the software’s ongoing developments in simulating composites, crack generation, and fracture kept pace.

“Simulation has been a great asset for both our aerospace and wind energy work,” says Hoyt. “It enables us to explore new ideas and look at the performance of multiple designs and materials while minimizing expensive testing.”

Sweep-twist blade basics

Rather than a traditional linear profile, a sweep-twist blade has a distinctive gently curving tip (or “sweep”) with curvature towards the trailing edge (see Figure 1). Theoretically, this planform shape allows the blade to respond to turbulent wind gusts through a process of controlled twisting and bending: As the blade twists, it sheds loads that would normally be translated as material stresses to the root (or base) of the structure. In nature, a similar sweep can be seen in the wing shape of birds that migrate long distances and the characteristic profile of whale tails and dorsal fins.

The engineering upside of twist-coupling is the ability to create longer wind blades while avoiding the higher loads that typically accompany increased length. Reducing loading—not only on the blade root but also on the turbine itself—enables a lighter blade design with lower raw material costs and helps lessen fatigue stresses on the rotating machinery. In early calculations, the STAR design promised a decrease in fatigue loads of 20 percent using a tip twist of three degrees. But as the design progressed, longer blades that capture more energy with no increase in load were pursued.

Beyond the potential advantages of altering the traditional length-weight-cost relationship, twist coupling is seen as a financially attractive solution for tapping low-wind-speed sites (defined as having an average velocity of 5.8 meters per second at a 10-meter height). These sites—in contrast to the high-wind-speed locations that have been the focus of wind-mining to date—are abundant in the U.S.’s mid-section and closer to major power-load centres. If the cost benefit proves favourable, development of low-wind locations could increase potential domestic wind farm area by a factor of twenty.

Understanding turbine behaviour — without the wind

“Over the years wind blades have become more and more high tech. The industry is pushing the limits of design and materials,” says Hoyt. “As that happens, engineers need to tighten up the loose legacy tolerances and manufacturing controls that originated in boat-building technology and adopt the more rigorous analyses that we have always done for complex aerospace structures.”

Of particular use in wind blade analyses with FEA, notes Hoyt, is Abaqus’ ability to handle composite properties and control material orientation. It can calculate blade-tip deflection (to avoid “tower strike”) and accurately predict both torsional response (including twist angle, which is key to load-shedding) and shear-compression buckling stability (associated with sweep-twist) of composite sandwich structures. An additional capability key to wind blade analysis is the extraction of accurate equivalent beam properties directly from a solid 3D FEM. These bending and twisting definitions are used in wind-blade-specific dynamics codes to predict the overall performance of the turbine.

“During the preliminary design phase, the type and amount of input data is often limited,” says Hoyt. “In the wind projects we’ve been involved with to date, there hasn’t been a high-fidelity CAD model available to use as a basis for the FEM.” So at the start of the STAR analysis, the NSE team only had the blade’s basic geometric parameters—the planform shape, the air foils, and the chord lengths—to work with. The desire for high-fidelity FEA at a design stage when only the basic parameters of the blade have been defined led to the development of NSE’s bladeMesher software, which is able to create a solid 3D mesh of the blade from the partial data.

“Our software splines the geometry defined at several locations on the outer mould layer (OML) of the blade and combines it with the composite material thicknesses specified at each location to generate a mesh with the true thickness details,” says Hoyt. “This solid mesh and material definition is then imported into Abaqus where we perform a detailed finite element analysis. We have found that a solid FEM has many advantages over shell element FEMs, which have traditionally been used for blade analysis. These benefits include a more accurate prediction of twisting behaviour and the ability to analyse stresses in the adhesive joints between structural elements.”

As the design of the blade progressed, the team explored new air foils and made adjustments to the sweep geometry to hone in on the optimal amount of twisting. The bladeMesher software enabled rapid updates to the solid FEM based on the new geometry, allowing the team to quickly assess the effect of each change. Abaqus’ task was to confirm the earlier section analysis predictions, which were performed using constant-section-equivalents to estimate the effective beam properties of the blade.

To determine whether the sweep-twist geometry would shed loads as predicted, two wind scenarios were applied to the model: an operating load and an extreme-wind conditions case (50-year gusts at 156 miles per hour). The analysis was used to predict the blade deflection and twist, perform detailed stress calculations, and investigate potential shear buckling due to the increased twist inherent in the design.

UK Innovator Recycling Glass & Carbon Fibre Waste

SIS would like to congratulate FORMAX.

FORMAX has launched a new recycling initiative at its UK production facility. Thanks to the creation of a dedicated Recycling Division and the installation of two bespoke machines, FORMAX say it is now able to reprocess the majority of its glass and carbon fibre waste.

FORMAX state the recycled materials are suitable for a variety of non-structural and structural applications across a range of industries, and a number of its customers are already manufacturing components using products from the division.

“Last year we generated over 600 tonnes of glass waste so recycling is clearly very high on our agenda, both from a position of environmental responsibility, but also from a commercial standpoint. The market for recycled materials is a growing sector with a number of significant opportunities and the creation of our new Recycling Division allows us to devote considerable time and resource into optimizing products for these processes” comments Oliver Wessely, Managing Director of FORMAX.

Multipurpose Modules for Sustainable Buildings

Edra Equipamentos has launched a multipurpose module for commercial construction applications.


The company say that the module, called “e.modular” can be used for instance, as a “pop-up” shop, for the showroom of real estate developers, cafeterias, help desk at events and even self-service banking kiosks.


Edra Equipamentos state the e.modular is a 3.2m wide, 6m long steel structure with composite coated walls and ceiling. The resin used for moulding the composite plates is partially derived from renewable and recyclable sources, such as oil plants and PET bottles. The floor is made of plastic wood composite and comprises of more than 90% discarded packaging waste.


The company added that during the day, the natural lighting of the e.modular is ensured by a system called Solatube, which captures and diffuses the light in the environment. To reduce the energy consumption of air conditioning, Edra Equipamentos applied special 3M film on all glass surfaces, which prevents the passage of more than 80% of infrared rays.


In terms of accessibility, the e.modular includes a wheelchair ramp, automatic doors and adapted bathrooms. Signed by São Paulo architect, Tatiane Rocha, the project makes use of curved lines and large transparent areas to increase the feeling of space.


“The design is both externally and internally modular. This means that users are totally free to define how they want to use the space. Not to mention that it is possible to overlap the modules, creating two or more floors,” says Jorge Braescher, president of Edra Equipamentos.