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Generating efficiency in wind blade production through material innovation
Game-changing innovation

Wind power is most certainly one of the most sustainable technologies for generating electricity and there are good reasons why wind power is growing rapidly worldwide.. According to the European Commission, wind power deployment more than quadrupled from 2004 to 2015, and currently accounts for around one third of renewable electricity in Europe alone.1 At the same time, growing numbers of consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact energy consumption is having on the planet. As a result, they are looking for alternatives that benefit people, planet and society as well as making a significant contribution to combating climate change.

However, wind power is still far from matching the efficiency levels of conventional energy sources. As a socially responsible company, Covestro is working to alter that – striving to lower the production costs of renewable energy, tackling the risk of fuel poverty, and helping to achieve global climate goals. At the same time, we want to facilitate and optimize our customers’ and partners’ businesses. Through innovative raw materials in numerous wind turbine components that are pushing the boundaries of possibility, we are helping wind blade and turbine producers to catch up on the cost efficiency performance of conventional energy sources and better exploit the power of the wind for the benefit of society as a whole.

1 Renewable Energy Progress Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, 2017: 7

“Wind power is now successfully competing with heavily subsidized incumbents across the globe, building new industries, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and leading the way towards a clean energy future.”
Global Wind Energy Council, 2016:
http://gwec.net/global-figures/graphs (URL retrieved 2017/09/27)

Faster manufacturing combined with longer service life

Polyurethane composite materials in plant construction

Although the global installed capacity for wind power is more than 20 times higher than in 20012, the full potential of this unique resource is far from being fully exploited. To progress towards this goal, tomorrow’s wind will have to be not just ecological but economical as well. At Covestro we have developed a special polyurethane (PU) resin that can be combined with glass fiber fabrics to create new composite materials. PU’s superior mechanical properties offer production benefits without compromising on production reliability and product quality, thus providing a valuable stimulus to the wind energy value chain.

Compared to standard epoxy resins for blade production, PU infusion resin can help optimize blade design and reduce weight, which brings wind blade manufacturers significant benefits. This innovative raw material, which has been applied in wind turbine blade production for the first time, makes lighter, longer and stronger blades possible. PU infused wind turbine blades also display excellent mechanical performance and better fatigue resistance properties than conventional solutions such as epoxy.

The faster infusion and curing speeds of our PU infusion resins make shorter production cycles possible. PU resin’s lower viscosity and better fluidity help to speed up infusion, while the fast curing time means no post-curing is needed. And that enhances the efficiency of wind turbine blade production.

Proof that polyurethane can play an increasingly important role in the future of wind energy came from a successful collaborative project with our partners SAERTEX and HÜBERS. Using our PU infusion resin, they fabricated a 45-meter long spar cap at the prestigious German Aerospace Center (DLR). Learn more about the pioneering DLR project in this video (link).

2 Global Wind Energy Council: Global Cumulative Installed Capacity 2001-2016: http://gwec.net/global-figures/graphs (URL retrieved 2017/09/27)

Polyurethane convinces in practice
Cooperation with SAERTEX and HÜBERS
Covestro has demonstrated that polyurethane (PU) can play an increasingly important role in the future of wind energy thanks to a successful cooperation with its partners SAERTEX and HÜBERS. At the renowned German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), a 45-meter-long spar cap was created with the aid of our PU infusion resin. Learn more about this groundbreaking project in our video!
Certification for the Chinese market

The production of more efficient rotor blades based on a PU glass fiber composite has now taken a decisive step forward. Recently, this innovative Covestro technology was approved for the Chinese market by achieving DNV GL certification. DNV GL is an internationally recognized industry standard for the safety, reliability and performance of wind turbines.

China is one of the most important drivers of the global development of wind power technologies: by 2020, the government wants to increase the capacity for generating wind power to 210 gigawatts. Today, China already has the highest capacity for wind power generation in the world. In 2016, 43 percent of all new plants were built in China. Covestro's PU technology certification puts Covestro in an excellent position to help shape the wind power boom in China.

More information

Baydur® for fast production and better performance

Press release on the next generation of wind turbines

Press release on DNV GL certification

"Wind power is a core element of Covestro’s sustainability concept. Various products and their advantages are therefore combined in Covestro’s wind power portfolio."
Kim Klausen, global coordinator of Covestro’s wind power activities

One layer less for greater efficiency

Corrosion protection with Pasquick™
Wind Power

The profitability of a wind turbine is largely determined by its maintenance requirements. One critical aspect is how well the enormous steel towers on which the rotors are mounted are protected against corrosion. At Covestro we offer wind farm owners and corrosion protection service providers a new perspective on maintenance. What motivates us most is a simple thought: The best kind of maintenance is none at all.

Pasquick™, as our revolutionary polyaspartic coating technology is known, fulfills all prerequisites for long-term, maintenance-free wind turbine operability. One particular advantage is the highly efficient application of coatings incorporating Pasquick™, as they offer the same high level of protection as conventional multi-coat PU systems with one coat less.

  • Fewer coats mean less work – potentially saving as much as 5-10 percent for the entire coating process. That is good news for wind park operators and makes Pasquick™ particularly interesting for tightly-budgeted public infrastructure projects.

  • As a world-leading supplier of polymer solutions for the chemical industry, Covestro offers a tried-and-tested solution. In over 15 years of practical applications, this technology has demonstrated its performance to be on a par with conventional, multi-coat systems. That is particularly important for offshore wind farms exposed to extreme wind conditions and salt water.

  • Our polyaspartic corrosion protection fulfills all the requirements defined in the relevant ISO 12944 standard. Moreover, Pasquick™ is a milestone on the way to new industrial standards that will ensure greater efficiency in future coating projects.

More information

Case Study: Innovative coating technology for wind energy towers

The steel towers supporting modern wind turbines can be up to 120 meters tall. Effective corrosion protection for these giants is a must.

Thinking outside the box – together

How Covestro works

Although wind power is a greener and safer alternative to fossil fuels or nuclear power in generating energy, it is still less well established than conventional energy sources. Advancing wind power around the globe is a task for us all and can only be mastered if diverse societal stakeholders join forces to champion it. At Covestro we collaborate closely with industrial partners and research institutions around the world to pave the way for technological innovations. Our aim is to explore new horizons hand in hand with our partners.

Covestro was the first company to develop a commercially available infusion resin for the production of wind turbine blades. This enabled the industry to become more cost competitive. We are committed to continuously seeking new outlets for our materials and driving innovation forward.

We are changing the rules of the game by enabling new opportunities to overcome the challenges that currently prevent wind power from delivering on its potential to make a cleaner, brighter future for our planet a reality. PU resin guarantees an excellent mechanical performance and other technical benefits that make production faster and more cost effective, thus pushing the boundaries of wind blade manufacturing.

Our most important projects
  • In the area of polyurethane-based rotor blades, Covestro works closely with process technology specialist HÜBERS, glass fiber manufacturer SAERTEX and Chongqing Polycomp International Corp. Projects are also in the planning with leading rotor blade developer WINDnovation Engineering Solutions in Berlin.

  • Our partners in the manufacturing and testing of components include the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the FRP Research Institute in Shanghai.

  • For our Pasquick™ corrosion protection technology, we collaborate with the coatings manufacturer Hempel and other companies.

  • Our researchers attend congresses and panel events, e.g. China Wind Power 2017 in Beijing, to proactively exchange know-how and ideas with their international colleagues.

A hot spot for wind power innovations

All our wind energy activities are coordinated by our Center of Excellence for Wind Power in Otterup, Denmark. We did not randomly choose Denmark for the site of this high-tech research center. For decades, Denmark has pioneered the cost-efficient development of wind energy, which makes it the ideal place for an innovative force on the international wind energy scene like Covestro.

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Wind power is just one of the areas in which Covestro is pushing the boundaries of possibility. Follow the links and discover more about our commitment to a brighter world!
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Covestro materials open new horizons – in the air and on the ground.

#SeamlessDesign
Polycarbonates from Covestro take the design and efficiency of motor vehicles to a whole new level.
#CO2Dreams
Covestro is transforming the climate killer CO2 into a useful raw material.
#PushingBoundaries
An overview of all highlight stories.