Do Wind Turbines Use Oil?

Wind turbines are becoming an increasingly popular source of renewable energy, but there is a lot of confusion about whether or not they use oil.

The short answer is yes, wind turbines use oil but it’s not what you think.

Wind turbines are purely mechanical devices with lots of moving parts, so oil must be used to lubricate the gears in order to keep them running smoothly and reduce wear and tear.

This article will explain why lubrication is important, what types of oil are used in wind turbines and how often do you need to change the oils.

Why Lubrication Is Important For Wind Turbines?

Importance of wind turbine lubrication
Importance of wind turbine lubrication by GlobeCore

Gears and bearings in wind turbines are subject to a lot of stress, and without proper lubrication, they can quickly wear down, significantly increasing maintenance costs and reducing the turbine’s lifespan.

Oil also helps to reduce friction between the gears, which reduces power loss and leads to increased turbine efficiency.

What Types Of Oil Are Used In Wind Turbines?

Wind turbines use a variety of different oils, depending on the lubricating point including:

1. Gear Oils

Gear oils, as their name implies, are used to lubricate the gears in a wind turbine.

They account for 70% of lubrication consumption and are typically made of a blend of high-quality synthetic and mineral oils.

They also must have a high level of viscosity in order to prevent them from leaking out of the gears.

2. Grease

Grease is used to lubricate the bearings in a wind turbine. It is typically made of a base oil, thickener, and additives.

The base oil can be a variety of different things, including mineral oils, synthetic oils, or vegetable oils.

The thickener is what gives the grease its consistency, and can be a variety of things such as lithium complex soap, aluminum complex soap, or calcium sulphonate.

3. Hydraulic Fluids

Hydraulic fluids are used in the hydraulic systems of a wind turbine, such as the brakes and yaw system.

They must be able to withstand high temperatures and pressures, as well as being resistant to corrosion.

How The Turbine Is Lubricated?

The lubrication system of wind turbines
The lubrication system of wind turbines by Autol

Each turbine has a sophisticated lubrication system to keep it running smoothly with minimum interference.

This system may include automatic greasing systems for the bearings, special oil filters that remove dirt and debris, and oil sumps that collect any leaked oil.

In addition, the wind turbine’s operator will typically monitor the lubrication levels and make any necessary adjustments.

How Often Do You Change Oils?

A typical wind turbine needs around 80 gallons of PAO synthetic oil each year.

Each turbine has a reservoir of 10-60 gallons of oil, which means that the oil needs to be changed every 8-12 months.

In terms of regreasing, most turbines need to be greased every 6 months

  • Nichole Hutt

    Hi, I'm Nichole! 👋
    I always felt close to nature during my childhood. Preferring to spend my time alone playing with backyard animals at my family farm. 🐷
    In 1997, I attained my electrical engineering degree at the Oregon Institute Of Technology, graduating top of my class. Several years later, I qualified for my M.S. in Renewable Energy Engineering, also at OIT. 🎓

    Combining my love for nature and passion for engineering, I have worked for solar panel manufacturer's in my state, most notably as a PV solar engineer for Zamp Solar.

    I founded RenewableSystems to share my knowledge and expertise in the renewable energy field and help save this beautiful little planet of ours. ☀️🌎

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