Published: 13 March 2012 13 March 2012
Global installed wind capacity has grown at an average annual rate of nearly 27% over the last 10 years, according to the recently published report Lubricants for Wind Turbines 2011: Global Market Analysis and Opportunities by Kline & Company. However, economic and technical challenges may temper this growth.
Kline projects that despite various political and technical concerns, lubricant consumption in wind energy is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% to 18% over the next five years. Technical developments, such as the adoption of low lubricant-consuming direct-drive units in some major markets like Germany, ostensibly foretell a lowering of demand; however, this is counterbalanced by an ongoing vast expansion in overall generating capacity. This growing penetration of direct drive technology is an important issue for the industry, but significant improvements in reliability of geared wind turbines will help the latter maintain their market dominance. Although the market for lubricants used in wind energy is small in terms of overall volume, it is rendered particularly attractive by its high growth, the high penetration of synthetics, estimated to be above 80%, and its ‘green’ associations. Existing lubricant marketers face the challenge of new lubricant suppliers emerging; especially in the service fill market where rather than OEM alliances, new end-user groups, such as wind farm operators, off-shore operators, and maintenance service provider companies, are now becoming increasingly important. Overall, the market offers strong margins to leading lubricant marketers who sell their products on the basis of performance guarantees, proven track record, and OEM alliances. Moreover, products developed for the wind energy industry have found applications in other industries where micro-pitting and scuffing resistance is valued. The report provides an independent, and detailed appraisal of this fast-moving market, including current and forecast demand by lubricant type, by leading countries and regions including China, India, Germany, Spain, the United States, and rest of world on-shore and global off-shore.