Investment in sustainable and renewable forms of energy calls for keeping equipment and structures corrosion-free and well-functioning. For a sustained production of wind energy and extending plant lifespan, turbines and structures need to be placed strategically, exposing blades and towers to harsh weather conditions at sea and land, such as constant winds, UV rays, and precipitation. This may largely cause corrosion and erosion of structures, affecting the efficiency of turbines. With the growing number of wind power generators in several emerging and developed economies, the demand for coatings for wind turbines is rapidly evolving.
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The advent of smart coatings for wind power generation structures and the rise in photo-voltaic applications that have antimicrobial and self-cleaning properties are expected to catalyze the demand for wind power coatings. When applied on turbine blades, smart coatings can detect the amount of damage done by harsh environmental conditions. The market for smart wind power coating is still in the developmental stage and not commercialized. According to the Transparency Market Research (TMR), the rising inclination to lower operating costs among wind power producers is a key factor expected to boost the demand for wind power coatings, globally.
The major applications segments include onshore and offshore. Key onshore applications of wind power coatings can be onshore blades, onshore towers, and onshore interiors. Based on offshore, the market can be segmented into blade, offshore tower, and offshore interior. The application of wind power coatings is expected to gain traction in onshore wind energy plants. This is attributed to the growing prominence of onshore wind projects due to its affordability and the lower cost of generation than in onshore wind power projects and solar PV cells. However, various regional environmental norms may hinder their adoption, thereby negatively impacting the demand for wind power coatings in onshore wind power generating structures.
On the other hand, the availability of a large area has led wind turbines to be located at sea or in freshwaters, thereby boosting the demand for coatings in offshore wind power.
Subsea Industries, a Belgium-based producer of coating and cleaning systems, has launched an advanced coating system Ecolast in July, 2017 for preventing corrosion and abrasions of wind energy structures. Different from regular coatings in numerous ways, the wind power coating system provides UV resistance and protection while preserving its color. The loss of color of tower of wind turbines, even with the application of extra layers of polyurethane, is a common phenomenon, especially in offshore wind farms. The introduction of Ecolast is expected to overcome such problems. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the coating system protects against salt, tides, or even ice. This is imperative when the turbines are submerged in seawater. The advent of advanced coating systems is expected to bode well for both the segments.
The major regional markets for wind power coating can be North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa. Of these, Asia Pacific and Europe are expected to provide substantial opportunities for producers of wind power coatings. Intensifying governmental initiatives in minimizing greenhouse gas in several countries of the region has fueled the production of wind energy, which is anticipated to boost the regional market. A major demand for wind power coatings is projected to come from China.
Meanwhile, recent advancements in production technologies and the rising adoption of ocean energy and offshore wind energy are the key factors opening up lucrative avenues for market players to capitalize on in the forthcoming years. Rising in imports of wind power coatings from countries such as the U.S., China, and India is further expected to accentuate the Europe market.