BASF likes the prospects for the wind energy business.
In a presentation at its triennial pre-K press conference in Ludwigshafen, Germany, BASF said that the wind energy market offers the company an estimated sales potential of $392 million in 2020.
Martin Brudermüller, vice chairman of the board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, said:
“Wind energy is on the rise worldwide as a climate-friendly source of energy. Annual growth of 7 percent is predicted up to 2020. The wind energy market has become increasingly international, with the focus shifting away from Europe. In 2010, more new wind turbines were installed in China than in the rest of the world combined.”
Demands for increasing size and performance of wind turbines are signaling increased requirements for advanced plastics systems. Doubling the size of a rotor blade boosts wind capture by a factor of four, according to Brudermüller.
“Moreover, customers expect the plants to have a longer service life even in the harshest of conditions, such as in offshore wind farms. The demands on the technology and materials used in production are rising accordingly.”
BASF has developed two-component epoxy resin (Baxxodur) systems that are said to speed up rotor blade manufacturing processes by as much as 30%. BASF also supplies the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) structural foam Kerdyn, which adds stability to the rotor blade core.
The company’s portfolio includes coating systems for rotor blades and towers, special grouting mortars and concrete additives for foundations and towers, and lubricants for wind turbine gearboxes. Five divisions collaborate on wind energy in a global industry team. It’s a concept of integration increasingly important to BASF, which describes it as “Verbund”.
New composite systems, including possibly thermoplastic composites, are surely on the horizon as well.