Seals and Wind Power – Powering the Future

Jul 29, 2020

Wind power is one of the most prominent energy sources of the future. As we look to greener alternatives for generating electricity, we are seeing more and more wind turbines being installed across the country. As it stands, there are over 7,000 turbines connected to the national grid in the UK and this is only going to increase. Therefore, wind power is proven to be the most developed alternative energy source.

Oil prices and an increase in the need for more energy has meant that energy suppliers are now looking to take advantage of the wind that blows across the UK. What’s more, as we aim to reduce carbon emissions, energy sources such as wind energy are going to become more prominent.

However, when it comes to seals, what seals are needed to ensure the operation of wind turbines can occur efficiently and effectively.

What Is Needed?

Rotary Seals – These are located in the main gear and it is here where the rotation of the blades is converted into a speed that is considered suitable for the generator. The seals are also used to hold the main shaft in the correct position.

When it comes to maintenance, the main brake will help to stop the turbine to a speed that is critical for maintenance. Here you will find scrapers, wear rings and rod seals while these seals will also be found in the Yaw brake. This break ensures that the nacelle is held in a steady position and facing the wind. All of the brakes, which includes the Yaw brake and the rotor locking system are fitted with critical safety-related functions within the turbine. Therefore, the sealing solutions used within the turbine must offer an enhanced level of reliability and so, they also have to be suitable for the environment which may involve both low and high temperatures.

Piston Seals, Static Seals and Wear Rings – These are all located in the accumulators and these work like hydraulic power batteries to enhance the efficiency of safety and energy. The angle at which the rotor blades face the wind is controlled by the pitch cylinder and actuators. Therefore, seals become an integral part of the system as they will need to withstand millions of strokes. Here you will find not just piston seals, static seals and wear rings but also rod seals and scrapers. These seals work to help control leakages but also improve the service life of the turbine.

The link between the blades and the generator is provided by the transmission. This is a crucial aspect of the turbine and its effectiveness while they are extremely efficient and require very little maintenance. Along with this, radial oil seals are perfect for sealing transmissions and so, they are made of a single lip that is bonded to a metal support using a garter spring although there are other variations to choose from.

So, it is clear to see that seals are a vital part of turbines and how they operate. Without the right seals, they would not work efficiently or effectively.