Wind turbine composite materials refer to the composite materials used for making wind turbines. Composite materials are the materials that are made of two or more materials with different chemical and physical properties. These materials when combined produce a different material with properties different from the individual materials. Composites are made using various fibers such as carbon and glass fibers. The different resins such as epoxy, polyester, polyurethane and vinyl ester are used in making these composites. Composite materials are used in the wind energy industry for manufacturing different components of wind turbines such as wind blades and nacelles. The structural components of wind turbine gain higher strength at comparatively lower weight due to usage of the composite materials.
GLOBAL WIND TURBINE FIBER COMPOSITE MATERIALS MARKET, BY TYPE, $M (2012 – 2022)
Glass fiber and carbon fiber are the two most widely used composite materials in the global wind turbine composite materials market. These materials have their usage mostly in making the structural components of the turbine blades, nacelle and the spar. These materials provide several benefits such as increased life of objects, higher flexibility and stability, and lower maintenance. Among the various types of wind turbine composite materials, fiber composite materials held the largest share in the global market in 2015. Glass fiber held the largest share in the global wind turbine composite fiber market in 2015. The carbon fiber composites are increasingly being used for the manufacturing of wind turbine blades, owing to their high strength and low-weight.
Among different applications, the consumption of wind turbine composite materials was largest for wind blades in 2015. The increased demand for wind energy plays a pivotal role in the expansion of the wind turbine composite materials market. The composite materials are being used for manufacturing larger rotor blades to increase wind turbine output. Moreover, the advantage of longer life cycle, high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance and low maintenance, compared to other conventional materials such as steel and aluminum, is giving composite materials an edge over other materials. The global market for nacelle is expected to witness highest growth during the forecast period. This growth is primarily attributed to the increasing usage of composite materials such as glass fiber and composite fiber for manufacturing nacelle.
The global wind turbine composite materials market was valued at $3,970.4 million in 2015, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% during 2016 - 2022. The increased government support for wind power projects and stringent environmental regulations, increasing need for energy independence and geopolitical energy security, and increasing wind power capacity across the globe is driving the growth of the global wind turbine composite materials market. High cost of composite materials and uncertain global economic conditions are the key factors limiting adoption of composite materials for manufacturing wind turbine structural components.
The wind turbine composite materials market in Middle East and Africa, and Latin America is still in its nascent form. Currently, there are very few large-scale wind farms, as compared to other regions across the globe. However, several countries across Latin America, and Middle East and Africa are framing regulations to reduce their dependency on petroleum fuels and increase production of renewable energy. This is creating abundant opportunities for the manufacturers of composite materials for their capacity and geographical expansion. The different countries in Latin America, and Middle East and Africa, such as Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco, have started exploiting wind energy. Hence, the massive unexplored wind turbine composite materials market across Latin America, and Middle East and Africa would attract investors and new players to exploit the potential in the global market.
The increased government support for wind projects and stringent environment regulations are the key drivers propelling the growth of the global wind turbine composite materials market. The rapid depletion of fossil fuels and global warming caused by their usage has shifted the global interest from conventional energy to green energy. Different governments across the globe have initiated several projects and schemes to promote and encourage the generation of wind energy.
Moreover, the implementation of stringent environmental regulations across the globe is propelling the demand for efficient renewable energy sources. Several international organizations are framing strict guidelines and standards to reduce the greenhouse gases emission. This further compels the government to adopt clean and safe energy, such as wind energy. The Renewable Energy Sources Act 2011 in Germany established fixed FiTs for the renewable energy-generating power utilities in the country, which covers various aspects of wind energy. Similarly, the governments across the globe have introduced schemes, tax benefits and financial support for the wind energy equipment market, which is encouraging investors to invest in the global wind turbine composite materials market.
Wind energy is a clean and renewable source of energy. A high growth in wind energy adoption has been witnessed over the years across the globe. The global cumulative installed wind capacity increased to 369.6 GW in 2014, from 47.6 GW in 2004. A similar growth is expected during the forecast period. The significant growth in wind energy generation has created high positive impact on the global wind turbine composite materials market. The governments across the globe have different targets to fulfil their energy needs from wind energy over the next five years. Therefore, the increasing wind power capacity across the globe is indirectly fueling the growth of the global market.
Different countries are focusing on geographic and capacity expansion to meet the increasing demand of composite materials globally. In June 2016, Gurit Holding AG announced opening of a wind blade mould production facility in Szczecin, Poland. The expansion is targeted at further increasing the company’s market share in Europe. Some of the other players operating in the global market are Cytec Solvay Group, Toray Industries Inc., Koninklijke Ten Cate NV., Hexcel Corporation, Teijin Limited, TPI Composites Inc., and Molded Fiber Glass Companies.
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