Martine Jagger explains how advanced lubrication solutions can enable wind operators to meet operational and environmental goals.
Sustainability is the overarching topic of this decade and is set to influence the activities of wind farm operators for the foreseeable future. For wind farm operators, the journey to operate a zero-emissions plant (zero waste and zero CO2) whether land-based or offshore requires planning and this is where Klüber can help.
Having the right inside knowledge about all your lubricated components is essential when it comes to operating a wind farm, as unplanned maintenance is costly. One area of the value chain where Klüber can support is in tackling specific challenges, such as: wear; maintenance and pollution.
Wind turbines at sea are exposed to high forces and extreme weather conditions, which can result in significant wear of bearings.
On an offshore wind farm, maintenance, and repair account for up to 25% of the total cost due to the unpredictable weather and conditions
Corrosion and consequent damage to structural elements of offshore wind power plants caused by sea water and microorganisms can cause leakage. Such leaks cause oil and grease to contaminate the marine environment.
Bio-degradable lubricants for wind turbines
To keep up with the requirements of the future, the use of sustainable lubricants will become imperative for turbine manufacturers and wind farm operators. As space for land-based wind plants becomes more limited, the trend towards building large-scale offshore wind farms will continue to grow, but the world’s seas and oceans are ecologically sensitive so the negative impact from wind farms needs to be minimal. Lubricant leakages from wind turbines can never be fully avoided, but by using Klüber’s bio-degradable speciality lubricants users can contribute to the sustainability of their wind turbines without compromising on performance.
The high-performance Klüberbio lubricants reduce wear considerably This enables quicker payback of costs for the offshore wind farm and uninterrupted power generation leading to higher sales.
Regreasing during operation
Klüberbio lubricants can be re-applied during operation. Power generation can go on continuously, avoiding financial losses due to maintenance stops.
Klüberbio lubricants offer the same performance as standard lubricants but are more environmentally friendly. They are based on biodegradable raw materials such as sunflower seed oils or special esters.
The Klüberbio LG 39-701 N biodegradable grease fulfils relevant biodegradable standards for onshore and offshore applications, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s OSPAR, 2013 Vessel General Permit, and biodegradability according to OECD 301 F (within 28 days).
Klüberbio LG 39-701 N reduces the number of lubricants required in a turbine by ensuring operators only need one grease for the best yaw bearing and open gear protection at all required operation temperatures. It provides outstanding wear protection for bearings and open gears, and torque reduction, and is material compatible (PA6 or PTFE on steel). It is also suitable for yaw roller bearings.
Future-proof lubrication solutions
To date, there are no binding regulations for environmentally sustainable lubricants to be used in the wind power sector. However, such regulations are expected to emerge as the demand for wind power continues to grow.
Klüber’s long-standing experience in the marine industry with its strict regulations and inspection procedures has many similarities to the wind power sector, so the company is well placed to help wind operators get the most from their turbines. Its experience developing biologically degradable products for use in yaw bearings, yaw gears and blade pitch bearings perfectly combine high performance and environmental protection.
The firm offers advanced, eco-compatible lubrication solutions for the offshore market that have already proven their worth in comparable industries and offer outstanding performance parameters.
As a company, Klüber is constantly striving for its own continuous improvement and since March 2022 has met the requirements of the EcoVadis Gold Rating, ranking it among the best 6% of companies under that scheme in terms of compliance with environmental standards, sustainable purchasing, and other requirements.
Partnering with Klüber enables wind operators across the world to achieve their ambitions for improved performance whilst demonstrating their sense of responsibility for the environment; both now and tomorrow.
Martine Jagger is with Klüber Lubrication.