SILICONE’S ROLE IN RENEWABLE ENERGY
Ever-increasing energy prices and decreasing fuel reserves are reviving the world’s focus on alternative energy. Solar energy and wind power are popular renewable energy sources. Silicon and silicones are a perfect fit in providing protection for solar and wind devices. Using silicon-based materials, solar modules and wind turbines are capable of withstanding extreme conditions.
There is more clean energy coming our way from the sun every day than we can possibly use! Silicon, as the most abundant electropositive element in nature, is a sustainable source for the raw materials and silicone products that help yield renewable energy from the sun. Solar panels can transform light from the sun into energy that can power homes, buildings, and manufacturing facilities. The raw material used to produce solar cells is silicon. Because of their ability to withstand the sun’s unrelenting rays, silicones are used during module assembly and installation as encapsulants, coatings, adhesives, and sealants. Silicones are used in solar panels to aid durability and functionality and provide durable bonds and seals alongside electrical insulation.
One of the most important renewable energy technologies is wind power. The wind rotates the blades of giant turbines. This generates energy that is then fed into the power grid. Advanced adhesives made from silicones bind the giant rotor blades of wind turbines reducing maintenance costs. Silicone is used because it resists not only the elements but also the centrifugal forces applied to the rotor blades. Rotor blades must be durable and reliable and able to provide up to 20 years of service without needing major repairs. Silicone adhesives maintain their bond strength under all environmental conditions.
Silicone materials advantages:
- Strong adhesive properties
- Resistance to damage and degradation from high or low temperature extremes, thermal shock, chemicals, oxidation and corrosion
- Water repellency
- Excellent dielectric properties
- Resistance to aging – silicones do not crack, peel, dry out, harden, rot, crumble or become brittle like many organics
- Long-term elasticity, pliability and flexibility
- Resistance to rain, sleet, snow, ozone and ultraviolet radiation
The sun shines. The wind blows. And silicones are helping the world capture energy without leaving behind a carbon footprint.