Hydraulic Cylinders are the Future of Clean Energy
The industrial era was a significant turning point in the history of hydraulics, but today, hydraulic cylinders are at the center of the most impressive renewable energy production technologies. With high-pressure, high-power capabilities, hydraulic cylinders can help improve performance and safety, reduce maintenance, and extend the life cycle of renewable energy equipment.
Maximizing Wind Turbine Output
Wind power is relatively inexpensive compared to solar and wave power generators and offers the easiest access to the existing power grids. Hydraulic cylinders keep the blades of the wind turbines angled in the best position to maximize the energy created from the wind.
Maximizing wind power requires constant adjustment to the angle of the blades to maintain the best position, all while keeping turbines turning at a constant, steady speed. Using position sensing cylinders and other advanced hydraulic technology allows wind turbines to operate at peak effectiveness continuously. Computer-aided technology enables 24/7 monitoring of each cylinder’s position, which can help commercial wind farms optimize each turbine’s efficiency.
Achieving Correct Solar Panel Positioning
Solar power spans a range of commercial and residential applications. On larger solar farms, hydraulic cylinders are used to position fields of panels to best reflect the sun’s rays onto a central tower. As the concentrated light heats water inside the tower, the steam generated turns a turbine that generates electricity.
Smaller solar farms and even residential applications can benefit from the accurate positioning achieved with hydraulic cylinders. As the sun constantly moves, so do the panels to ensure optimal positioning. This is another clean energy hydraulic cylinder application where position sensing technology provides the benefit of remotely controlling and monitoring each cylinder’s position.
Optimizing Hydroelectric and Wave Power
Wave power involves harnessing energy from the motion and movement of the ocean swells and waves. The terminator devices, point absorbers, and attenuators in wave power generators rely on hydraulic cylinders to capture wave activity and convert it to electricity. Hydraulic cylinders are also used to adjust equipment height in the water and control the scope and duration of the power generated as tides and wave height change throughout the day.
At hydroelectric power plants, hydraulic cylinders are used to open, hold, and lock the dam gates, valves, and other components. In this clean energy hydraulic cylinder application, power and reliability are critical in preventing site injuries and catastrophic floods.
Preventing hydraulic system failure in these environments requires long-lasting hydraulic cylinders capable of withstanding heat, cold, seawater, and other harsh elements. Here, a highly durable cylinder design is just as important as accurate positioning and high load capacity.
Finding the Right Hydraulic Cylinder for Clean Energy Applications
Using the right cylinder makes a world of difference in how well and how long mechanical equipment operates. An advantage of custom hydraulic cylinders is the ability to design the cylinders based on the specific performance needs of your solar, wind, or wave power equipment.
Constant exposure to heat, cold, moisture, and particulates requires hydraulic cylinders with a rugged, corrosion-resistant exterior and high-quality seals. And since most clean energy production equipment sits in isolated, hard-to-access areas, a design that maximizes efficiency and output and minimizes maintenance is critical.
The role of hydraulic cylinders in the renewable energy sector is constantly evolving. Aggressive Hydraulics has and continues to play an active role in developing and supplying thought-driven hydraulic cylinder technology for this environmentally cautious market.