Report by Liz White, editor
As the push for wider use of renewable energy sources continues so associated industries start to reap the benefits. For the adhesives industry, the growing market for wind farms means the sector needs adhesives for joining turbine blade sections together, for example.
Adhesives companies generally have a big advantage with composites: in order to assemble the parts, “there is only one technology that works,” and that is adhesives, commented Eugenio Toccalino, marketing manager with Dow Automotive.
So the wind energy market throws up new opportunities and challenges for suppliers of adhesives. And polyurethane also has a share of this bonding market, according to experts UTI spoke to at the JEC Composites show in Paris, 29-30 March.
How much adhesive is used in one wind blade depends on blade size, but it can vary from 300 kg up to 1 tonne in very large blades, said Hartmut Pilz of Henkel AG’s focus segment wind in EMEA (Europe, the Middle-East and Africa). Pilz said currently the maximum blade length is about 62 m.
Although it is difficult to estimate market size because different technologies are being used, Pilz said in a 29 March interview at the JEC Composites show that he has heard a figure of 60 000 or 70 000 blades made globally in 2009.
Even at only 300 kg of adhesive per blade, this would give a minimum of 18 kilotonnes of adhesive needed for wind blades globally each year.
However, Daniel Vogt, market engineer for renewable…