EPOXIES: KEY ENABLERS OF THE EU GREEN DEAL
The European Union has launched an ambitious Green Deal and the overall objective is to achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions in Europe by 2050 while strengthening the economy and wellbeing in the region. Epoxy resins can play and important role in the Green Deal and Epoxy Europe is commited to support our customers and end users with our products and technical support.
Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy
Epoxy resins have already allowed the production of ever larger wind turbine blades for decades. Offshore installation of the largest and most powerful wind turbines is now an important growth area, while onshore windparks also continue to be developed. Apart from the blades, epoxy resins are used in electrical components in the turbine as well as in protective coatings of the towers. As turbines age, new repair systems allow extension of the lifetime of the blades.
The Green Deal means massive electrification of Europe, as energy demand for heating and mobility shifts away from fossil fuels. The entire grid needs to be upgraded, from the main high voltage arteries to the fine-mazed network reaching all electricity users. At each level epoxy resins are used for their insulating properties combined with their strength, anticorrosive protection and adhesion. This is a very traditional market segment which has become very dynamic again!
Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility
Historically, our cars, trucks, trains and planes were made in metal and epoxy-based paints provided corrosion protection. The need for more sustainable mobility has provided additional opportunity for the use of epoxy resins in lightweight composites. Epoxy parts can now be manufactured at the very high rates common in the car industry. For trucks, lightweighting allows to deliver more goods per the same total tonnage of the truck. In planes epoxy use has been growing for many years, but new forms of mobility in the air create a whole new market. Think about drones and electrical planes from commuter props to “flying cars”. Finally, epoxy composites are the material of choice for hydrogen tanks that may be used more widely in transportation.
Next to lightweighting we see epoxy play a key role in electrical powertrains for cars. This is really an extension of the use of epoxy as encapsulation material in under-the-hood electrical components in traditional cars. Mass production, high performance, reliability, and a long lifetime in harsh environments are key. And epoxy resins can provide heat resistance and fire protection to battery compartments.
Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way
In building and construction we wish to point out the traditional benefits of epoxy resins used in coatings and construction materials. While innovation continues to make these materials cleaner and greener, their key impact on society is to ensure long asset life at lowest maintenance cost.
Considering the amount of infrastructure that is constructed from steel in an industrialized nation, the cost of replacing lost assets due to corrosion (Road, rail, buildings, automobiles, power, water, oils and gas, chemical industry etc) would equate to between 3 – 4% of the GDP of that country. The latest estimate from the USA by NACE was that this figure for the USA alone would be about 2.5 Trillion dollars.
There is also the carbon emission argument for producing coatings with a long service life (for which epoxy resins are a key ingredient) in terms of the production of the raw materials and finished products, application, transport of goods. The fewer the number of applications and maintenance cycles, the better. Next to lightweighting we see epoxy play a key role in electrical powertrains for cars. This is really an extension of the use of epoxy as encapsulation material in under-the-hood electrical components in traditional cars. Mass production, high performance and reliability and a long lifetime in harsh environments are key. And epoxy resins can provide heat resistance and fire protection in battery compartments.
Epoxies and renewable energies
socio-economic value of epoxy resins