Base oils
10.02.2020

Neste and Evonik gearing up wind energy

Mika Kettunen
Technical Product Manager, Base Oils

 

With the rapid industrialization of developing countries, a projected twofold increase in demand for electricity and the switch to renewable sources, the energy industry is facing a transformation unlike any changes it has witnessed before. And thus, we are taking a big step to ensure that its gears will keep on turning smoothly.

Reports paint a good picture of how major trends will influence the market. Current projections of growth in renewables show that by 2035 nearly half of the global energy generation capacity will come from wind and solar. And just as we are advancing the transportation sector, we are also looking for new ways of supporting businesses in the energy industry. This has led us to a solution that has the potential to bring in a wind of change – quite literally.

New power for the energy industry

Taking such a step was made possible through our cooperation with specialty chemicals company Evonik. Our work began with a precise goal - expand the potential of our products to new areas, while providing customers with clear business and environmental benefits. Together, we developed a new formulation based on our NEXBASE group III base oils and Evonik’s VISCOBASE enabling excellent solvency and viscosity control. This innovative lubricant has valuable properties for the energy industry, especially for wind turbines.

Now, I am happy to report that we’ve made considerable progress with this formulation. An extensive test programme ended in securing approvals from Hansen and FAG/Schaeffler for wind applications and Siemens for Flender gear units. It has also been approved for field testing by Winergy, passed Moventas factory tests and is undergoing field trials in Europe and the USA.

The experience from these closely monitored field trials has been very encouraging. Lower sump and bearing temperatures, a reduction of deposits and varnish as well as a decrease in ferrous particle counts have been observed. The already collected data provides an indication of the key benefits of this formulation – from higher efficiency with reduced traction losses to outstanding gear and bearing protection and high-temperature viscosity. What is more, as it was made to achieve all of this even in the most demanding conditions, it can be used in wind turbines to make maintenance less challenging and less frequently needed.

How we lower wind turbine maintenance needs

“One of the unique characteristics of our product is that it allows for achieving the performance previously offered by PAO formulations, but with Group III base oils. This was made possible through the strong and effective partnership with Neste and our work on the new formulation.” - says Thilo Krapfl, Customer Relations Director EMEA, Evonik Resource Efficiency

Our role in supporting a global transformation

Our unique formulation supports a smooth transition of the energy industry towards power generation from renewable sources on a global scale. But through partnerships like these, we also want to expand the adoption of our products to completely new applications. 

When replacing mineral oil solutions, the potential of lower oil volumes needed by longer drain intervals should enhance the carbon efficiency of vital operations, not to mention the impact of enhanced energy efficiency. Given these qualities, we are now looking into spreading the possible applications for our product into other areas, such as mining, wastewater treatment and the pulp and paper industry, to name a few. Because every drop matters when working towards a more sustainable future.

I’d like my blog post to serve as an open invitation to anyone interested in learning more about what we can do together to make our businesses more efficient, while taking noticeable steps in the area of sustainability. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of my colleagues – we’ll happily tell you more. I believe that collectively our actions can make a healthy difference.

Read more industry news and insights as seen by our experts on our website:  https://www.neste.com/baseoils

 

Written by
Mika Kettunen
Technical Product Manager, Base Oils

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