Ionbond – supporting sustainability and efficiency in the energy generating sector
Supporting a sector in transition
“It is unavoidable,” says Val, “that humankind will eventually stop using fossil fuels. But the transition will take time, which means that right now, we need the various types of energy to coexist. A way to increase the sustainability of the whole sector and to contribute to the growing global electricity need is to increase the efficiency of the energy generation machinery. If you get more electricity from burning a ton of coal, you either need less coal or you can serve more people – both of which lead to reduced CO2 emissions. And if you extract more electricity from the same wind speeds, the share of renewable energy will increase, so less fossil fuel will be needed. Increasing generation efficiency also makes good financial sense: reducing maintenance downtime and increasing the longevity of machines and mechanical components. Ionbond’s PVD, CVD and PACVD coatings can help improve efficiency in energy extraction by almost any method.”
“At Ionbond, we are highly experienced in coating components of wind turbines,” says Val. “They are exposed to heavy mechanical loads and challenging environmental conditions including alternating temperatures and sea mist. Ionbond’s coatings, especially applied on roller bearings, reduce rolling contact fatigue and extend the service and maintenance intervals. In addition to saving costs, this helps wind farms increase their reliability and even improve the workings of the wind turbine – reduced friction means it is possible to start up the wind turbine at lower wind speeds.”
Steam and gas turbines
Most energy today is generated by burning fossil fuels, and using gas or steam turbines to transform heat into energy. “The efficiency of turbines as mechanical systems is determined by a large number of factors,” explains Val. “Reducing friction losses is an important way to increase the efficiency of the system. In addition, Ionbond coatings help improve the reliability, stability and continuity of the energy supply by decreasing wear and increasing maintenance intervals. For these turbines, our coatings are designed to reduce cavitation erosion on turbine blades, or wear and galling in their roots. For gas turbines, reducing susceptibility to the high temperature and corrosive environment is an important aspect of increasing component longevity.”
Oil extraction is a mainstay supplier for the energy generation industry. “This is a tough business, from a technical perspective,” says Val. “Earth gets into everything, as you’re trying to bring up the oil from serious depths to the surface, and earth is very abrasive. It’s a mechanically complex operation, too – requiring sophisticated drilling, ways to reinforce the downhole so it doesn’t collapse, pumps to bring up the oil, valves that control oil&gas transportation, etc. In the offshore oil industry, you can add the tremendous water pressure, salty water, and other environmental factors that can kill a system in a heartbeat. Ionbond’s wear resistant coatings offer proven solutions for many applications in oil&gas extraction and processing.”
Energy storage systems
An industry segment adjacent to energy generation is energy storage. Especially with renewable energy generated from sun and wind, the sources are not constant and controllable, which means the energy output cannot be tailored to the energy demand. “We need to be able to collect the energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, and store it for use when these sources aren’t available,” says Val. “Electric batteries are the most common energy storage we know today. However, they are not very efficient and consume expensive and limited materials such as lithium. Alternative energy storage systems, such as flywheels and hydro storage, often have mechanical components such as pumps, engines or turbines. Reduction of friction losses in such systems during energy storage or recuperation can dramatically improve their efficiency. Such reduction can be provided by using Ionbond’s coatings on critical components.”
Join our webinar for the energy generation sector
Ionbond has over 50 years of experience in high-performance coatings that reduce friction and protect against many types of wear. In our 35 coating centers around the world, our engineering teams have the expertise to find the right coating solution for even the most challenging and unusual applications. For the energy generation sector, we offer a range of PVD, CVD and PACVD coatings that help reduce wear and extend the lifetime of components and systems. To produce these coatings, Ionbond employs state-of-the-art coating technologies, which are carried out in modern, reliable and highly productive equipment.
Would you like to understand the process Ionbond engineers go through when evaluating a new application for our customers? Please sign up for our webinar for the energy generation sector. In this technical presentation, we will outline the different coating functionalities and talk you through our coating selection process and available coatings, including diamond-like carbon (DLC) films. The presentation will also include information about our coating production methods. We will use selected case studies to illustrate Ionbond’s coating capabilities for improving performance of mechanical components. To cap it off, there will be time for questions.