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Hydropower is a renewable energy source that has been harnessed for thousands of years. Today, it is one of the most important sources of electricity in the world and its use is only expected to grow in the future. One of the key components of the hydropower industry is the use of epoxy coatings, which are used to protect the machinery and infrastructure used in hydropower operations. In this blog post, experts from Belzona explore the role that epoxy coatings play in the hydropower industry and the benefits they provide.
The benefits of epoxy coatings in hydropower operations
Epoxy coatings are a popular choice for use in the hydropower industry because of the many benefits they provide. One of the primary benefits of epoxy coatings is their ability to protect machinery and infrastructure from corrosion. Corrosion is a major problem in hydropower operations because the equipment used is often exposed to water and other corrosive substances. Epoxy coatings provide a protective barrier that prevents corrosion from occurring, which helps to extend the life of the equipment and reduce maintenance costs.
Another benefit of epoxy coatings in hydropower operations is their ability to provide a smooth surface for water to flow over. This is particularly important in turbines, where a smooth surface is essential for optimal operation. The use of epoxy coatings can help to reduce friction and improve the efficiency of the turbine, which can lead to increased power generation and lower operating costs.
Finally, epoxy coatings are also resistant to high temperatures and can withstand exposure to UV radiation. This makes them an ideal choice for use in the harsh environments found in hydropower operations, where machinery and infrastructure are often exposed to extreme temperatures and intense sunlight.
Hydropower industry case study
Belzona had the opportunity to improve the condition of a 60-year-old Kaplan hydropower unit that was showing signs of wear and was due for a full mechanical overhaul.
Figure 1: Hydropower unit during surface preparation for Belzona 1111 (Super Metal) application
Operators at the Hydropower Plant grit blasted and cleansed the unit with solvent. Belzona 1111 (Super Metal) was used to smooth over the wear and cavitation in a full skim coat. Once cured, the Belzona 1111 (Super Metal) was sanded down to the required profile, and frost blasted. Two full coats of Belzona 1341 (Super Metal Glide) were applied. The coating can provide increased efficiency on new and refurbished equipment while also providing full corrosion and erosion protection while immersed.
Figure 2: Hydropower unit assembled after Belzona 1111 (Super Metal) and Belzona 1341 (Super Metal Glide) application
Surviving 60 years with minimal wear is impressive. However, by using Belzona 1341 (Super Metal Glide), the unit can continue to operate for many more years, providing reliable service and cost savings over the long term. The use of this product can improve the unit’s resistance to wear and tear and can also provide an additional layer of protection against environmental factors, such as moisture and chemicals.
The future of epoxy coatings in the hydropower industry
As the demand for renewable energy sources continues to grow, so too does the necessity for hydropower. This is expected to drive an increase in the use of epoxy coatings in the hydropower industry, as more and more equipment is needed to meet the growing demand for electricity. In addition, advances in epoxy coating technology are likely to make them even more effective at protecting machinery and infrastructure from corrosion and other forms of damage.
One area of particular interest is the development of epoxy coatings that are more environmentally friendly. As the world becomes increasingly concerned about the impact of industrial processes on the environment, there is a growing demand for coatings that are engineered with plant-derived ingredients. The Belzona Research and Development Team are currently in the process of formulating products made from bio-based materials that are produced from sustainable plant-based feedstocks, rather than the traditional fossil-fuel based ingredients.
Epoxy coatings play a critical role in the hydropower industry, providing protection against corrosion, improving efficiency and withstanding the harsh environments found in hydropower operations. As the demand for renewable energy continues to grow, the use of epoxy coatings in the hydropower industry is expected to increase and advances in technology are likely to make them even more effective. By working together, the hydropower industry and coating manufacturers can help to develop coatings that are both effective and environmentally conscious, ensuring a sustainable future for the industry and for the planet.