Humans have been using water power for more than 5,000 years. In 2008, hydroelectric power plants accounted for 15.8% of the world's production of electrical energy. Attention is now also focusing on innovative concepts for harnessing tidal and wave power. WACKER is involved in many of these applications.
There is more energy stored in waves than was generated worldwide in all of 2010. Innovative precision silicone films made from ELASTOSIL® Film are helping this energy to be harvested Produced from addition-curing silicone rubber grades in a patent-pending process, ELASTOSIL® Film is available in thicknesses as low as 20 micrometers. Production takes place under clean room conditions and yields flawless, homogeneous films of extremely consistent thickness, and all contributing the positive properties of silicones.
In wave-power generators, ELASTOSIL® Film serves as dielectric medium, return spring and carrier for electrodes, ensuring durability over millions of cycles.
Wave-power generators of this kind are much more cost-efficient than conventional wave power stations as they do not require any hydraulic components or turbines. Added to which, they offer years of maintenance-free service. The technology is currently being developed as part of a joint research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research ("Elastic Polymers based on Silicones for Energy Recovery" or EPoSil). WACKER's role is to develop the silicone material for the project.
Innovative Solutions for an Ancient Energy Source
Hydro power has a long tradition at WACKER. In 1914, it was the main reason why we founded our site in Burghausen. To this day, the captive hydroelectric power plant in Burghausen is still providing electrical power to the site – some 8.5% of our total annual requirement. Our polysilicon production facility in Norway is even almost entirely powered by hydro power.
Our decades of experience with hydro power benefit our customers from the energy sector. Innovative silicones from WACKER's ELASTOSIL® product line are prized all around the world for their reliability in:
- Hydropower generator seals
- Encapsulating sensitive components in hydropower generators