In recent years, Belzona has focused on clean energy. We have seen the importance of investing resources in this growing and crucial industry. The outcome of those investments is products engineered to solve maintenance issues in clean power, such as Leading-Edge Protection (LEP) for wind farms. The following are examples of success stories of Belzona’s ability to repair maintenance issues on a wind farm and how we can contribute to renewables.
Fighting the Wind on a Wind Farm
Elements create corrosive areas on equipment, and metallic columns are no exception. On a wind farm in Texas, wind turbines were damaged on the surface of the columns caused by salt deposits from rain and fog settlements. The customer felt if the issue was not addressed in due time, through-wall defects could lead to a loss of structural integrity, posing a larger issue long-term. In addition, the customer needed a solution requiring minimal effort from labor. Access was only by wire rope and staging basket.
As a result, one high-build coat of Belzona 1331 was applied by brush in one staging. Being a high-build coating this application was carried out in one pass, thus keeping labor and downtime to a minimum. Belzona 1331 offers outstanding erosion-corrosion resistance. In addition, because of its chemical resistant qualities, the salt environment along the coast proves no match for this coating.
Switching Coatings on Switchgear Boxes
Switchgear boxes located at the base of wind turbine columns were damaged from corrosion from the salty environment. If the corrosion continued the wall thickness would have deteriorated further, and the asset integrity becoming compromised. The location of the switchgear boxes made it easy to prep and apply coatings. Abrasive blasting was not allowed. Instead, orbital sanders were used to acquire the surface profile required to apply coatings. Next, the switchgear boxes were coated with Belzona 3921 Conditioner, which is zinc-rich and acts as a corrosion inhibitor. Then, Belzona 5111 was applied for the UV protection and final environmental protection finish.
These units were corroding rapidly. In three years of service, evidence of through-wall had already become apparent, and asset replacement was being considered. The customer tried other coatings to offset corrosion, but they fared no better than the original coating. Then, the Belzona 5111 and Belzona 3921 systems were given an opportunity. After testing for one year, the customer was happy with no visible signs of corrosion! The wind farm made the decision to coat all the switchgear boxes with Belzona.
Spend a little now and save a lot later!
Saving Energy on a Wind Farm
A wind turbine was experiencing leading-edge erosion (LEE) because raindrops, sand, and hail damaged the leading edge of the rotating blades. If not repaired, LEE can leave the blades unbalanced, affecting the shaft and gearbox and resulting in energy loss.
The customer conducted several tests using alternative solutions, including a tape and different epoxy coatings. The alternative systems failed within 18 months while the Belzona 5721 leading-edge protection system was still going strong and looking brand new. Additionally, the ability to stage an application left a very narrow window due to questionable weather. The contractor needed a product that was easy to mix and apply and a quick cure cycle while suspended by wire rope in a staging basket. The customer chose Belzona 5721, a high-performance, UV stable, and solvent-free coating in the end. To apply the coating they began by rebuilding the surface of the blade using Belzona 1221. Belzona 2911 Conditioner was applied to the coating area to have optimum adhesion. Then, the surface was overcoated with one coat of Belzona 5721 LEP coating.
The customer feels the repair with Belzona 5721 will last five to eight years. Substantial maintenance costs have been saved!
With the world’s focus turning to renewable clean energy, companies will follow suit by seeing how they can adapt and contribute to more sustainable practices. Belzona seeks to continue engineering solutions for wind farms and seeks to engineer solutions for solar energy next. In the meantime, Belzona has had successful applications in renewable energy sources and has a number of products that can be used in wind, water, nuclear, and electric transmission fields.