Fostering energy efficiency and renewables
The lightness of being
Wind turbines with longer rotor blades, refrigerators that can go days without electricity, cars with lightweight plastic glazing… these are just some of the ways that goods can become more efficient and environmentally friendly when based on innovative materials from Bayer MaterialScience.
Carbon nanotubes make windmill blades stronger while reducing their weight, allowing them to be substantially larger than before.
Wind power plays a central role in moving from conventional power generation to using renewable energy sources. And in the case of turbine rotor blades, the electricity yield is a function of how long they are. Currently, their length is limited to around 60 meters.
But tiny particles from Bayer MaterialScience are about to take this to a new dimension: Baytubes® carbon nanotubes make the blades stronger while reducing their weight, allowing them to be substantially larger than before.
The company is supporting the advancement of renewable energy with a number of other products, too. Special coatings based on polyurethane raw materials protect windmills against corrosion, for example. And transparent polycarbonate panels can help turn solar modules into designer building components. Polycarbonate can also be used to make films that enable a whole new breed of flexible, lightweight modules. And polyurethane frames make it easy to mount solar modules on roofs without costly substructures.
Polyurethane is also best suited for insulating buildings against heat and cold. Bayer MaterialScience offers many more environment-friendly solutions for sustainable building, including raw materials for coatings containing no volatile organic compounds, for instance, or polycarbonate for energy-saving LED lighting systems.
Bringing together such applications and experts is the objective of the EcoCommercial Building program, a global network focused on sustainable building and headed by Bayer MaterialScience.
The path that food takes to the consumer is getting longer and longer due to the growth of cities, particularly in the developing and emerging countries. This requires an efficient refrigeration chain. Bayer MaterialScience is researching innovative insulating materials with microscopic “nanopores”, which provide a further significant reduction in the energy consumption of cooling devices. Current models already use 60 percent less electricity than 15 years ago.
Frugal fuel consumption is also important when it comes to transportation. Numerous products from Bayer MaterialScience are helping make cars lighter and more environment-friendly. Polycarbonate glazing that replaces heavy glass is just one example; polyurethane composite materials can also significantly save weight.
Climate protection and energy savings are a central focus at Bayer MaterialScience itself. The company uses a range of innovative production processes to make its plants more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.