Geosynthetics for wind farms - a growing market
The market for sustainable energy is growing. Players include both locally and internationally operating companies that are active in biogas installations, solar panels and wind energy (turbine builders). For example, since 1995 the number of wind turbine farms has snowballed, and over the coming years the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects ‘an enormous increase’. Geosynthetics can fulfil an important supporting function when it comes to the installation of wind turbine farms.
Windmill farms are often constructed in former agricultural areas and outlying districts, where a sound infrastructure or hard-surface access roads are lacking. The ground usually has poor carrying capacity and is sometimes downright swampy. In the words of Dick Janse (product manager and wind farm business specialist TenCate Geosynthetics EMEA), these are ‘dramatic landscapes’.
Applying TenCate Geolon®
According to Dick Janse, the boost in investments in sustainable sources of energy and the deplorable terrain on which people want to build installations constitute an excellent opportunity for the textiles of TenCate – especially the European TenCate Geolon® and the North American equivalent TenCate Mirafi®. These are high-modulus fabrics for the foundations of (temporary) feeder roads burdened with heavy traffic. Unlike traditional materials, these textiles are flexible, have low stretch and high tensile strength. When using such strong geotextiles, the road builder needs less surface material, which furthermore can be obtained locally. This decreases the carbon footprint and delivers cost savings. The separation function of the fabric ensures that the load-bearing capacity remains guaranteed for a longer period. The roads last for 25 years. They have to deal with the greatest loads by far during the first three months. After all, materials, equipment, heavy turbines and turbine blades up to 55 metres long have to be transported and erected.
TenCate geosynthetics for the installation platform of De Ambtenaar, with 135 m the highest wind mill in the Netherlands