Silicones: Making alternative energy practical
Ever-increasing fossil fuel prices and decreasing petroleum reserves are
renewing the world’s focus on alternative energy.
The sun shines. The wind blows. And silicones are helping the world capture
energy that would otherwise be wasted.
day, the sun provides enough energy to the Earth to meet the world’s
electricity needs for a year.
Solar panels can transform light from the sun into energy that can power
homes, stadium scoreboards, and manufacturing facilities. The raw material used
to produce solar cells is silicon metal. But, because of their ability to stand
up under the sun’s unrelenting rays, silicones are used throughout the solar
cell manufacturing, module assembly, and installation process as encapsulants,
coatings, potting agents, and sealants.
Another important source of renewable energy is wind power.
|The wind rotates the blades of giant turbines. This generates
energy that is then fed into the power grid. Silicone adhesives are used to
bond the rotor blades. Silicone is used because it resists not only the
elements but also the centrifugal forces applied to the rotor blades. Rotor
blades must be durable and reliable and able to provide up to 20 years of
service without needing major repairs. Silicone adhesives are capable of
maintaining their bond strength under constant thermal cycling and
environmental attack for the life of the blade.
Learn about silicones for solar power from Dow