New technology center in Leverkusen: Fresh impulses for wind energy

Covestro is developing innovative PUR resins for use in wind turbine rotor blades at its new Wind Technology Center

  • Investment in innovation: Covestro researches material solutions for sustainable energy generation at its new wind technology center
  • Optimization and new development of PUR resins in cooperation with customers
  • Simulation of manufacturing processes for optimal results
The team of the Wind Technology Center.
The team of the Wind Technology Center. © Covestro

On the road to alternative energy generation: Covestro is developing innovative PUR resins for use in wind turbine rotor blades at its new Wind Technology Center. A win-win-win situation for Covestro, customers and the environment.

“The development of these resins is very important to us. After all, it contributes to the expansion of alternative energies and strengthens our strategic orientation to sustainably reduce the CO2 footprint and take even more steps towards climate neutrality,” explains Klaus Franken, Head of Application Development Wind and Pultrusion at Covestro. “To be competitive, the wind industry faces the constant challenge of reducing the Levelized Cost of Electricity. We can help here by enabling our customers to produce rotor blades faster and thus more cost-effectively. At the same time, higher energy yield through optimized blade properties and longer service life also play a role.”

Existing and new resin formulations are developed and tested in Leverkusen. © Covestro
Existing and new resin formulations are developed and tested in Leverkusen. © Covestro

Close cooperation with customers

One goal of the Wind Technology Center is to develop robust materials that combine the properties important for rotor blades, such as strength, stiffness and temperature resistance. Existing products are continuously optimized and completely new formulations are developed and tested. Another goal: application technology development in close cooperation with customers.

Klaus Franken explains: “Here we can simulate our customers’ manufacturing processes and show how our PUR resins help them to realize both their rotor blade designs and the manufacturing process in the best possible way.”

Covestro attaches great importance to optimally tailoring its products to the needs of its customers. That is why a number of cooperative ventures with European and Asian wind turbine manufacturers are already in place. The focus here is on constructing and testing prototypes.

The high-tech center is located in Leverkusen and was completed and put into operation at the beginning of this year. It comprises two interconnected units: a laboratory area for chemical development and an Upscaling Plant. The latter is home to processing technology and application development.

Chemical development and application technology go hand in hand at the Leverkusen Wind Technology Center
Chemical development and application technology go hand in hand at the Leverkusen Wind Technology Center. © Covestro

Development and application go hand in hand

The center offers clear advantages: “Chemical development and application technology can work hand in hand here. On top of that, the physical proximity makes it easier to exchange information directly and quickly. We use identical resources and the same infrastructure and quickly obtain a comprehensive depiction of the process. This helps us to pursue our goals in a results-oriented manner and without losing knowledge, and enables us to offer new, innovative solutions to our customers,” explains Technical Center Manager Frank Grimberg. “Process and plant safety, explosion protection, machine safety and, of course, occupational safety are always in the spotlight here,” explains Tobias Wollersheim, who as Project Management was responsible for planning and implementing the investment.

Another positive aspect: with the innovative technology center, Covestro is increasing its attractiveness as an employer. Indeed, wind technology offers a wide range of new, interesting fields of work that arouse curiosity and offer diversity. Covestro has taken on a newly qualified chemical technician from its own training program to operate the machines. He is being intensively trained in the processes and machine technology.

This much is clear: Things are moving in the area of wind energy.

Quotes

“The development of these resins is very important to us. After all, it contributes to the expansion of alternative energies and strengthens our strategic orientation to sustainably reduce the CO2 footprint and take even more steps towards climate neutrality. To be competitive, the wind industry faces the constant challenge of reducing the Levelized Cost of Electricity. We can help here by enabling our customers to produce rotor blades faster and thus more cost-effectively. At the same time, higher energy yield through optimized blade properties and longer service life also play a role.”

“Here we can simulate our customers’ manufacturing processes and show how our PUR resins help them to realize both their rotor blade designs and the manufacturing process in the best possible way.“ – Klaus Franken, Head of Application Development Wind and Pultrusion at Covestro

“Chemical development and application technology can work hand in hand here. On top of that, the physical proximity makes it easier to exchange information directly and quickly. We use identical resources and the same infrastructure and quickly obtain a comprehensive depiction of the process. This helps us to pursue our goals in a results-oriented manner and without losing knowledge, and enables us to offer new, innovative solutions to our customers.“ – Frank Grimberg, Head of Competence Center Urethanes at Covestro

“Process and plant safety, explosion protection, machine safety and, of course, occupational safety are always the focus here.“ – Tobias Wollersheim, Senior Project Engineer at Covestro

About Covestro

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 15.9 billion in fiscal 2021. At the end of 2021, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 17,900 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

Source

Covestro, press release, 2022-06-09.

Supplier

Covestro AG

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