Maintenance worker servicing wind turbine

Turbine Greases: Protecting the Power Industry

Keeping up with the winds of change.

Lubrication plays a vital role in protecting wind turbines, extending their working life, reducing downtime, maximising output and getting the best return on investment.

Offshore wind turbines

Over the next five years, global wind power capacity is forecast to grow by 60%1. The need to avoid unplanned downtime will become ever more pressing. This is particularly true as maintenance becomes a significant cost factor, due to not only size of the wind turbine and scale of the operations but also location, with the challenges of both onshore and offshore farms.

Why lubricants matter

Lubrication plays a vital role in protecting wind turbines, extending their working life, reducing downtime, maximising output and getting the best return on investment. The best greases protect against wear and damage in even the most extreme environments and at a wide range of temperatures.

What properties should modern wind turbine operators demand of the lubricants they use?

Reduce wear and increase equipment life

Challenging locations and extreme weather conditions can make the repair process costly. To put this into perspective, the industry spends up to $8 billion on wind-farm maintenance, globally2.

Wear is caused not only by heavy load, due to the sheer size and weight of today’s wind turbines, but by the extremes of wind and weather conditions to which they are exposed. Equipment parts rely on greases that provide a protective film to ensure all-weather peak performance and long life.

Lubrication plays a vital role in protecting wind turbines, extending their working life, reducing downtime, maximising output and getting the best return on investment.

Prevent corrosion

Protection against corrosion is particularly important for wind turbines at sites with high levels of moisture. Without proper protection, corrosive agents can enter the bearings and cause chemical wear, with the presence of salt accelerating the process. A high-quality grease will prevent surfaces becoming pitted and avoid rust particles and other debris entering the protective film.

Perform at low temperatures

Maintaining grease fluidity and mobility with a high-performance lubricant, even in the coldest temperatures as low as -40°C, is vital for safeguarding expensive pitch, yaw and generator bearings.

Protect bearings at lower speeds

To effectively protect bearings and other parts in large wind turbines, a grease must be able to form and maintain an adequate film thickness throughout operation, even at slow operating speeds.

For best performance, choose a grease designed for wind turbines

From initial design right through to ongoing maintenance, Shell engineers collaborate with leading turbine manufacturers and wind farm owners to design high-performing greases that help maximise efficiency, power and value.

Using the best performing lubricants will help turbine operators ensure the highest levels of operational protection, performance and productivity, now and in the future.

1https://www.woodmac.com/press-releases/global-wind-power-capacity-to-grow-by-60-over-next-5-years

2Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance Market Analysis By Application (Onshore and Offshore), By Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, MEA), And Segment Forecasts, 2018 – 2025. June 2017. Grand View Research.

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