Stainless steel is the ideal material for the energy industry
The development of ever new technologies in the generation, transmission, distribution and storage of energy requires a material that can be used universally in all weather conditions. Whether in wind turbines, coke ovens or collectors – stainless steel has established itself as the most widely used metal and is ideally suited to meeting the high demands of the rapidly changing industry.
Stainless steel is extremely stable. This makes it the ideal material for rotating components. Furthermore, its hardness and dimensional stability know to convince even under high forces. It is highly resilient, stays in shape and is able to withstand extreme weather conditions as well as corrosion and abrasion.
Stainless steel bipolar plates feature a protective layer that increases corrosion resistance and provides good surface contact resistance. Stainless steel is also suitable for the construction of desalination plants, wall coverings, organic acid production facilities and other industrial applications requiring high corrosion resistance. Stainless steel has the strength required to withstand corrosive attacks in harsh environmental conditions.
One of the outcomes of fast economic growth and rising living standards in many parts of the world is that the energy demand is growing faster than ever. Stainless steel plays a role in many of these emerging technologies, including power generation. The application of stainless steel avoids repair work due to the material's corrosion-resistant properties, even in extremely severe operating conditions.
Solar panels, for example, are subject to a broad range of surrounding conditions during their lifetime and the corrosion behaviour of stainless steel is therefore a critical element in the selection of the right materials for building solar panels. For example, concentrated solar power plants are often encountered in harsh environments with high temperatures, extreme temperature changes, enormous vibrations, intense characteristics and volatile environmental conditions.
Solar installations, particularly solar panel components, must be able to function accurately in these aggressive surroundings, and the materials from which these parts are made play an important role in their overall success. Stainless steel is corrosion resistant from start to finish. Even if the material is impaired, its inherent self-healing ability ensures that the surface will not discolour or corrode. Therefore, protection against aggressive environments, including seawater corrosion and abrasion, makes stainless steel a great choice for many power generation systems. In addition, to provide durable and maintenance-free solutions, stainless steel is extensively used in the field of solar energy due to the material’s good strength, heat resistance, ductility, toughness and sustainability.
Corrosion-resistant stainless steel long products offer a combination of great precision, fire resistance, hygienic properties, recyclability and long service life. Stainless steel is also suitable for photovoltaic constructions since it offers good visual and architectural integration on roofs an façades.
For example, stainless steel structures withstand the harsh conditions of a construction site and, due to their good mechanical properties, they can be very thin. Stainless steel frames are also resistant to strong winds and snow loads, an advantage in areas of the world where the panels are exposed to these conditions.