Complex shapes without increasing costs
There are various cooling systems in a wind turbine. Liquid coolant is often used. In the past, liquid coolant tanks were often made of steel. This manufacturing method has its limitations. Steel tanks are often simply rectangular in shape. One of the design challenges is to find enough space for a tank of sufficient volume in a nacelle, which is packed with mechanical and electronic components. The space available for a coolant tank often has a complex shape. This is where the exceptional benefits of rotational moulding come in handy. It is quite possible to design a tank with a complex shape so that the available space is used optimally, without increasing costs.
No limitations by pressure
During the life of a wind turbine (the design life is often at least 20 years) a coolant tank is subjected to pressure changes. This gives a fatigue load. This phenomenon is also known for steel, which can still fail at a relatively low stress due to a changing load. This also applies to plastic. It is important that the maximum material tensions remain below a certain level, so that the lifespan of rotationally moulded polyethylene tanks is no longer limited by fatigue. If an FEA analysis shows that the peak stresses are too high in a number of places, then due to the design freedom of rotational moulding, the design can often be improved quite easily, for example by increasing radii. Rotovia has a track record with various cooling water tanks that have been functioning without problems for many years.
50% lighter compared to steel tanks
A 125 liter rotationally moulded tank with a wall thickness of 8 mm polyethylene will weigh approximately 12 kg, depending on the design. The same tank in 3 mm sheet steel will weigh 31 kg, more than twice as much. The lower weight of a rotationally moulded tank has several advantages. For example, the product is easier and safer to handle during the assembly of the wind turbine. The lower weight also gives an advantage in logistics costs, which are very relevant for the wind turbine industry because they are transported all over the world. Less material use also means lower costs. In addition, polyethylene is fully recyclable, making it a sustainable solution, fully in line with the objectives of wind energy.
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