The use of technical ceramics in wind turbines is an important component of modern energy generation. The material is durable, lightweight and corrosion resistant, as well as resistant to harmful elements such as moisture, salt and wind. Technical ceramics are lightweight and can easily be installed in the frame of the wind turbine. The operation of wind turbines sometimes generates extremely high temperatures, which the ceramics can withstand without any damage. In addition, technical ceramic parts offer high thermal conductivity and excellent mechanical resistance, making them a preferred choice for use in wind turbines.
Most common applications:
- Antifriction and sliding bearings: Due to their high hardness, technical ceramics are used as antifriction or sliding bearings in the rotors of wind turbines. The material has low coefficients of friction, which results in less friction and less wear. In addition, technical ceramics are very light compared to other materials, which reduces the load on the rotor and helps to increase the efficiency of wind turbines.
- Filtration of current and voltage: Technical ceramics are installed in the capacitors and filters used in the power electronics of wind turbines. The components are able to filter unwanted high-frequency components out of the current and voltage and thus improve the quality of the feed-in voltage and frequency. Therefore, voltage spikes that could damage electronic components and lead to downtime are prevented.
- Resistors: Technical ceramics are also particularly important for braking resistors, which are used to reduce the rotor speed of wind turbines to ensure that they operate within safe operating ranges. Winch-driven service lifts, which are needed in wind turbines to transport people and materials, are also equipped with braking resistors.
- Printed circuit boards: In electronic components of wind turbines, technical ceramics function as circuit boards because they act as insulators to prevent flashovers and short circuits. In addition, ceramics have good heat dissipation properties, which significantly reduces the risk of overheating.
- Heating elements: Some sensors in wind turbines must be heated during cold weather to ensure reliable measurement. In addition, the rotor blades – which are made of carbon – must be prevented from freezing, otherwise they become porous. The monitoring systems such as cameras must also not get too cold, otherwise there is a risk of failure. For this reason, heating elements made of technical ceramics are used at various points in wind turbines in order to guarantee the safety of the turbines.
- Vibration damping: In order to reduce the transmission of vibrations to the rotor and the tower, technical ceramics are due to their high hardness also used as vibration dampers.
The use of technical ceramics in wind turbines is profitable for many reasons and a valuable factor for the wind power industry – not only to increase the efficiency of wind turbines, but also to reduce installation costs. With the help of the material, essential functions for operation are guaranteed. At the same time, it helps to make wind turbines smaller and lighter, which reduces operating costs as well. Technical ceramics are also made of an environmentally friendly material, as it produces little waste and is recyclable and extremely durable. We are convinced that technical ceramics improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of wind energy and can thus make a significant contribution to the energy transition.