Wind blade bonding solutions beyond the expected
Brawn with the Wind
One way to help mitigate climate change and energy security issues might lie in an invisible natural force – wind. Although people have been harnessing wind energy for thousands of years, the construction of large wind turbines only took off in the last few decades. The oil shortages of the 1970s, as well as growing concern about the adverse impact of fossil fuels, inspired many governments to invest in wind power projects.
Since the 1980s, the wind industry has seen astonishing growth. Blades today are 10 times bigger than they were 40 years ago. The share of U.S. electricity generation from wind grew from less than 1% in 1990 to about 9.2% in 2021. The same trend has echoed in Europe, while China is now the world's largest wind electricity generator.
Sika is helping make the wind energy industry stronger than ever. The company is developing innovative new products for mold and blade manufacturing, foundations, grouting, repair, and weather protection that will increase the longevity of wind turbines and the attractiveness of wind as an energy source.
Built for the Harshest Conditions
To achieve the emission reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement and COP26, the current annual rate of wind production must increase fourfold. This requires not only more wind turbines, but also a more efficient production process.
As a key supplier to the wind industry since the 1990s, Sika has been quick to address this industry’s fast-changing needs. For example, Sika’s high-strength bonding paste is extraordinarily tough, allowing blades to survive the harshest conditions.
Sika provides a host of products critical for the wind energy industry, such as SikaFast® curing structural adhesives, Sikaflex® and Sikasil® sealants to resist weathering and water damage, as well as a wide range of resins and gelcoats to produce molds.
Key Milestone in China
In September 2021, Sika in China achieved a key milestone in its contribution to offshore wind turbine blades. Together with a major Chinese blade manufacturer, a 102 meter wind turbine blade was successfully bonded using SikaPower® adhesive. This is one of the largest turbine blades in the world. SikaPower® adhesive technology was selected for bonding the main shear-webs as well as the leading and trailing edge joints.
The outstanding fatigue performance of SikaPower® is thanks to SmartCore® technology that drastically increases toughness to maintain the structural integrity of the blade over time. This means that blades can be bonded faster, with more safety and flexibility, and they will last longer.
An Inexhaustible Resource
The world will never run out of wind. It has become one of the cleanest, most abundant, and affordable ways to tackle climate change. The exponential growth in wind energy over the past 40 years is just the tip of the iceberg. As climate change forces the world to develop new energy sources that are cleaner and more reliable, the use of renewable energies is set to accelerate even further.
Wind is an inexhaustible resource, but we also have solar and water, and Sika is contributing to the advancement of all three markets. Ultimately, the question of how to obtain a stable energy supply without exhausting our resources or each other is a question of survival. Sika is proud to be part of the answer, helping its customers build the highest quality wind turbines to power our world more sustainably.
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