Epoxy is helping the world go green
Epoxy resins have been an essential component of the power grid for decades. From the point of generation, through to final use, epoxies’ high insulation properties ensure the stable and safe transmission and distribution of electricity. But, perhaps lesser known is the important role that epoxy resins now play in supporting the transition to an even smarter grid and a greener generation of electricity.
The use of renewable energy solutions is growing throughout Europe. Sunny areas like the Mediterranean, and windy regions, such as Scotland, combine to put Europe at the forefront of renewable energy. However, solar and wind generators are often in remote and even offshore areas. So, how can we make sure that the electricity grid expands rapidly and smartly enough to make sure the power reaches end users?
Minimising the loss of energy during transmission over long distances is of the utmost importance. Technologies such as HDVC and composite core cables go a long way towards ensuring minimal loss of energy. However, the cables are often heavy, which reduces the energy they can carry.
Epoxy composites, on the other hand, can reduce the weight of the cables and increase the electricity capacity carried by 30% compared to the same weight of steel core cable.
But that’s not all. Epoxy resins are also used to prolong the service life and improve the reliability of the sensors and measuring devices that are increasingly installed as part of building a smarter grid system.
By 2022, the epoxy resins industry will have experienced huge growth, thanks largely to their use in generating renewable energy:
• In solar energy, by protecting the solar panels from wide temperature variances and intense environmental conditions such as those caused by UV radiation, bitter cold, heavy rain, hail, storms and turbulent winds.
• In wind energy, by making the blades more durable thanks to their high tensile strength and high creep resistance.
• In hydropower, by protecting concrete surfaces against low temperatures and lashing water flow with epoxy mortar’s non-permeability, adhesive strength, anti-erosive nature and non-abrasiveness.
With uncontrollable forces of nature, it is often difficult to accurately predict peaks of energy generation. Therefore, emerging storage applications, such as flywheel, battery and pumped hydro storage, are becoming increasingly important to leverage the benefits of renewable energy. Yet again, epoxy has proven very efficient in helping to ensure that none goes to waste.
The harnessing of natural resources is on everyone’s mind. The epoxy industry is no exception and we will continue working to ensure epoxy’s excellent properties are widely known and used for everybody’s wellbeing.