According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind capacity grew by 8% in 2014 and is forecast to increase by 12% in 2015 and by 13% in 2016. Bloomberg New Energy Finance further predicts that wind power will continue to grow with global installations adding a record 60 GW in 2015 alone. This is good news for the wind industry, but with growth comes increasing pressure to develop more reliable and efficient machines.
Wind turbines must withstand harsh internal and external conditions, including temperature and weather fluctuations, turbulence caused by wind gusts, variations in rotor speed, and repeated strokes of the blades. For the components that make up the turbine, durability is essential. Even the smallest components, such as seals and connectors, must endure changes in pressure and temperature while minimizing friction and wear inside the nacelle.
This article examines key considerations for selecting seals and connectors, and discusses the implications for wind-turbine designs.