Innovations in power generation
In the June issue of the International Plastics News for Asia, we look at recent material solutions in the quest to generate clean and green energy sources to protect the environment, as well as to serve the needs for energy supply. The plastics industry has been supporting the move towards clean energy sources – with new materials being developed to generate and transfer energy.
Polymer matrix composites are chosen for the manufacture of components due to its light weight relative to their stiffness and strength. A material blend featuring extreme toughness and resistance to severe environmental conditions for use by a custom cable manufacturer in New England for wire jacketing for wind turbine applications. The blend, Tufflex 2200 series, is a chlorinated thermoplastic elastomer compound that is flame-retardant, UV-resistant, oil-resistant, and extremely temperature-resistant. The material is suitable for installation in the tower and nacelle of wind turbines where it is exposed to extreme conditions that include cold, heat, and vibration. The finished electrical cables are used for control and service power for the wind turbines.
Key to capturing and releasing the latent power of wind is advanced turbine technology that operates at maximum efficiency. In wind power, there is no carbon emission and hazardous wastes left behind. Unlike coal and nuclear plants, it doesn’t swallow huge amounts of water, which is itself becoming a scarce resource.
Solar plastic films and panels production has also seen rapid increase in demand as experienced by Power Plastic, a lightweight, flexible organic solar film that converts light to electricity. In the construction business where builders integrate solar technology into curtain walls, windows, transit structures, automobiles with energy-harvesting rooftops, consumer electronics and more, the use of design-friendly solar films and solar panels have become an integral part of the whole set up.
There are many issues that plastics respond to in the area of energy generation. Aside from being environmentally-friendly, the manufacturing cost for composites and solar films/panels is lower. Organic plastic is intrinsically flexible and easy to bond to flexible substrates such as plastic and metal foils. Combined with the extremely thin active layer, this enables lightweight and flexible applications.