Wind energy coatings | Turbine coatings

wind turbine coatings

Wind power in the UK

The United Kingdom is among the biggest producers of wind power in the European scale. There are many onshore and offshore wind farms in the UK, due the country’s ideal location. The UK’s biggest onshore wind farm Whitelee in Glasgow, Scotland is also the second biggest in Europe. Additionally, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea Wind Farm, is planned to be built in the UK off the coast of England. Both onshore and offshore wind farms aim at optimal power generation which can improve trough appropriate wind turbine coatings.

Wind energy coatings improving turbines’ power generation

wind turbine coatings

Wind turbines are operating in demanding environments, a turbine coating protects them and increase efficiency.

Wind energy coatings have a crucial role in the time and cost efficiency of wind power generation. The industrial wind turbines have rotor blades of about 35 metres and a tower as high as 65 metres resulting in a total height of 100 metres. The protection of the turbines is of high importance due to the fact that the turbines are constantly subjects to weather conditions. In the high altitudes the conditions are usually more extreme than closer to the ground. A wind turbine blade coating has, thus, essentially two properties:

  • Protection from UV radiation
  • Water repelling ability to prevent rain drops and ice sticking on the surface

Additionally, the coated surface must be immune to corrosion of any kind. Therefore, the coating should be durable and immune to rain erosion. Any kind of corrosion affects the aerodynamic shape and structure of the rotor blades hindering the rotation, which leads to reduction in power generation. The following video demonstrates the damage rain can cause to turbine rotor blades, and how to prevent it with a wind turbine blade coating.

Protection with offshore wind turbine coatings

In general, the offshore wind turbines are subject to harsher weather conditions than the onshore turbines. Offshore wind turbine coatings must also protect the turbines from marine biofouling and offer additional protection against corrosion due to the presence of salty sea water.  Bioactive compounds, which prevent barnacles from settling, also help preventing corrosion and letting the under-water parts remain in somewhat aerodynamic shape reducing drag force.

Wind turbine coating process

Coating the wind turbines takes place on different stages of the production process. The turbine rotor blades consist of balsa (a very light wood sort) and fiberglass sheets. These are bond together with an epoxy solution. The epoxy layer is then sanded and coated with an adhesion primer. Finally, the blade is coated with another epoxy paint. Nevertheless, the topcoat does not be an epoxy solution. Some rotor blades have a polyurethane layer or an additional protective nano coating on top. Some coatings also have hydrophobic properties to improve water repellent properties. The following video shows the complete wind turbine coating process included into the description of the whole manufacturing process.

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