Vestas Selects DowAksa to Support Rapid Global Growth of Wind Energy
Turkey-based carbon fiber manufacturer DowAksa announced it has completed a long-term commercial supply agreement with Vestas Wind Systems AS, the world’s largest supplier of wind turbines and the largest consumer of carbon fiber. DowAksa will produce laminates for carbon fiber spar caps using advanced process technology that assures the strength, stiffness and lighter weight needed for more productive, reliable and efficient wind turbine operation.
DowAksa, a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.Ş., expects to provide more than $300 million worth of parts for carbon fiber-pultruded spar caps over the projected four year contract. The parts will be manufactured at the DowAksa production facility in Yalova, Turkey. DowAksa is using a specially-designed pultrusion process with Dow polyurethane technology to reduce cost and improve performance. These high-strength, light weight parts will initially serve Vestas customer installations in Turkey and Europe, with additional capability to supply installations in the Middle East, Africa and India, taking full advantage of Turkey’s proximity and logistics advantages to efficiently serve these regions.
“DowAksa will provide Vestas more supply certainty and innovative product offerings by using new carbon fiber composites technology to improve wind turbine efficiency. By working with DowAksa in Turkey, Vestas will partner with an established and proven manufacturer in a key local market with a strategic geographic location that will facilitate access to both emerging and mature adjacent regions,” said Vestas Senior Vice President Jan W. Rietdijk.
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As the leading manufacturer of wind turbines in the nearly $180 billion global wind energy market, Vestas has put nearly half a century of experience to work installing more than 60,000 turbines in 75 countries. It seeks to maximize electricity production efficiency for its customers by improving turbine performance to provide a best-in-class levelized cost of energy. DowAksa’s new PU-based technology will enable more efficient production of electricity from some of the longest blades on the market today, as well as blades being designed for future onshore and offshore electric power generation.
“As the wind energy sector strives to produce turbines that generate the lowest cost of energy, carbon fiber composites offer greater stiffness, lower weight and optimized cost. With its commitment to bringing the benefits of carbon fiber to the industrial marketplace, DowAksa offers this enabling technology for new generation wind turbine blades,” said DowAksa Chairman Mehmet Ali Berkman.
This agreement will also help Turkey raise the bar for local content creation in wind power projects as a significant amount of laminates for carbon fiber spar caps in wind turbine blades now will be domestically produced. Before DowAksa, these parts were imported from other countries. DowAksa also anticipates major expansion at its Yalova facility as Vestas pursues additional wind energy projects in Turkey, as well as other opportunities in the region.
“The wind sector is confronting a big challenge to develop longer turbine blades that reliably withstand tremendous forces in highly variable conditions. DowAksa welcomes the chance to help Vestas meet this challenge. Co-located with Aksa, the world’s largest acrylic fiber production facility, DowAksa has the technology, supporting infrastructure and potential scale to serve one of the fastest growing segments of global energy production,” added Heinz Haller, Executive Vice President & President of Dow Europe, Middle East, Africa & India and DowAksa Deputy Chairman.
Carbon fiber demand is growing in the wind energy sector to manufacture wind turbines that will generate electricity at costs that meet or beat traditional generation technologies such as coal, natural gas and hydropower. However, as wind blades become longer, it is essential to reduce weight while maintaining strength and stiffness to maximize energy production efficiency. New technology adoption to serve both new and existing wind turbines will be critical as wind turbine installations are currently growing at an annual rate of more than 7 percent, toward a projected 20 percent share of the global electricity generation portfolio in 2040.