Globally, it is estimated that about 962,000 tons of silicone products annually are purchased for use in the energy sector in renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines, as well as in traditional energy sources like oil, gas, and electricity.
Silicones in Solar Panels
Silicones are used as conductive adhesives and encapsulants in the manufacturing of solar panels. Their resistance to UV radiation and temperature changes and superior transparency improve panel efficiency, while their mechanical and chemical properties reduce repair costs and ensure panels last longer.
Silicones contribute to cost reductions in the solar sector, because they have:
- Low reactivity
- Temperature and weather resistance
- Resistance to UV damage
- Neutral cure (avoids corrosive by-products)
- Adhesive quality
Powering Renewable Energy
Silicones are also used as bonding agents and lubricants in the manufacturing of wind turbines.
- Silicones increase the durability and weather resistance of rotor blades
- By improving durability and strength, silicones facilitate larger wind turbines with greater energy potential
- Silicone lubricants help reduce turbine maintenance costs and maximize energy efficiency
Watch the video to learn how silicones are used to improve energy efficiency and power the transition to renewable energy.
Silicones in Energy Transmission
Silicones are used as insulators in both underground cables used for transmission and distribution of electricity, and in transformers.
- Silicones extend the life of underground cables by up to 20 years, helping to avoid more expensive options such as replacement or rejuvenation
- The surface hydrophobicity of silicones provides long-lasting protection against leakage currents and flashovers. In combination with low flammability, this increases the reliability of the power supply and adds to safety
Silicone use in transformers increases the durability of electricity transfers, and help prevent power outages.
Silicones in Energy Infrastructure
In the oil and gas industry, silicones are the most widely used antifoam agents because they:
- Allow for higher extraction rates of oil and gas, reducing water usage and increasing efficiency
- Contribute to maintaining throughput and production in wells, rigs, refineries, and in transportation of oil
- Deliver savings by preventing oil leakage and downstream equipment damage