Wind turbines are huge modern pieces of complex machinery that require attentive maintenance. Learn about the importance of lubrication in wind energy production.
Wind turbines can rise as high as 300 feet above the ground (or the sea floor). Standard components include propellers, a rotor, and a nacelle, a box-like component that contains the gearbox, controller, generator, and braking system.
Each of these components requires some type of lubrication to keep the turbine working properly. The yaw motor and drive, which control the direction and angle of the propeller relative to the wind direction, also require lubrication. The gearbox containing bearings must be lubricated to avoid failure of the entire mechanism. Wind turbine lubricants include oil, grease, and hydraulic fluid formulated for the specific parts the lubricant is meant to treat.
Wind turbines are subject to strong mechanical stresses. The turbine exists to convert mechanical energy into electricity, but that mechanical energy, meaning the force of the wind, creates stresses on the structure. The correct wind turbine lubricants help the turbine’s parts cope with the mechanical stresses from rotation and vibration.
Extreme temperatures, humidity, water contamination, and even lightning are all threats to proper wind turbine operation. The proper lubricants can minimize the effects on wind turbine operation. Protective greases and lubricating oils for wind turbines can prevent moisture intrusion and damage from airborne contaminants.
Corrosion can cause the parts of a wind turbine to grind to a halt, interfering with energy production and highlighting the importance of lubrication in wind energy production. Breakdowns cause costly delays for repairs or parts replacements. Protection from corrosion is especially important in turbines located offshore, where they are exposed to salt water and spray.
Wind turbine technology now includes automatic lubrication systems to keep a constant supply of fresh grease or oil available to the wind turbine’s mechanisms. Some automatic wind turbine lubrication systems pair with oil filters depending on which area of the turbine’s mechanism they service. These automatic systems require a fresh supply of grease or oil from time to time.
Santie Oil is a trusted distributor of well-known wind turbine lubricant brands. Contact Santie when your supply runs low or when you are commissioning a new wind turbine tower for your business to ensure you have the proper lubricants on hand.