Epoxy resins are used both as composites and coatings in the production, transformation and distribution of various types of renewable and non-renewable energy.

 

KEY COMPONENT OF WIND TURBINE BLADES

Onshore wind turbines

In the wind sector, composites made from epoxy resins and reinforcing fibres have become a standard component of large-sized windmill rotor blades and are also used in smart grids and turbine insulators. Epoxies are used to coat steel and concrete towers of windmills, as well as to impregnate the concrete or steel itself. Wind turbine poles in the North Sea are coated with epoxy resins to protect the structure from salt water corrosion. Finally, materials created with epoxy resins are an indispensable component in offshore, wind energy farms due to their durability and low brittleness, light weight and high mechanical strength. 

Offshore wind turbines

Wind turbines have grown larger and taller over the last 30 years thanks in part to the increased use of epoxy resins. Epoxies improve the strength-to-weight ratio of turbines’ structure, enabling the manufacture of longer blades which would be more difficult to produce otherwise.

Longer blades, in turn, promote the growth of the EU’s renewable energy output and European energy exports. In 2018, wind energy accounted for 14% of Europe’s energy production capacity as compared to only 2% in 2000. Wind energy production contributes substantially to the EU’s goal to get 20% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020.[1]

Savings category Reduction assumptions Savings €BN
Investment cost savings Less windmills to produce the same amount of energy
9.3
Reduced maintenance costs 10%0.2
TOTAL 9.5

Summary of savings generated by epoxy rotor blades [2]

DID YOU KNOW?

The wind energy sector accounts for a segment of epoxy applications that uses 40, 000 tonnes of epoxy resins produced by ERC members every year. 
The energy sector accounts for 81,000 tonnes of epoxy resins annually, representing the second largest segment of epoxy applications in Europe. [1]

Today, up to 50% of the wind energy market may be using epoxy resins. Companies involved in wind energy manufacturing activities in the EU account
for €11.2 billion in turnover and some €4.7 billion in economic output to the European economy per year. [1]


 

[1] ‘Epoxy Resins updated Socio-economic Assessment’, 2019 

[2] ‘Epoxy Resins Socio-economic Assessment’, 2015