Helping to innovate across smart mobility, clean energy and sustainable industry to achieve Green Deal objectives.
The importance of fluoropolymers for the sector
Europe is at the forefront of the development and the use of renewable energy and has one of the most ambitious goals for a sustainable future in this respect. Europe is a leading photovoltaic market as well as in wind energy. France and Germany are world leaders when it comes to geothermal energy.
Fluoropolymers are an indispensable driver of the European Green Deal – for example, across smart mobility, clean energy and sustainable industry – and are used within various components of renewable energy installations, such as hydrogen and PV panels.
Installed capacity of both PV and wind energy is increasing quickly; a pre-requisite is unit cost reductions driven by efficiency gains. They are also used in energy storage systems such as PEM fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells also convert hydrogen to electricity, which is crucial to reach the ambitious increased targets for share of renewable hydrogen as part of the EU’s energy mix. Proton Exchange Membranes (PEMs) rely on fluoropolymer ion exchange membranes to function and on other fluoropolymers as key components in their construction.
From delivering on the Hydrogen Strategy to the Strategic Action Plan for Batteries, fluoropolymers have a key role to play in the transition to an integrated and decarbonized energy system in the EU.
Unique properties of fluoropolymers and their benefits for the sector
Fluoropolymers exhibit a unique combination of properties within various components in renewable energy installations.
Their resistance to weather and extreme environments provide numerous benefits including:
Excellent chemical, corrosion and abrasion resistance; low and high temperature resistance and thus increased lifetime of components (fuel cells, batteries, photovoltaics etc.)
Lower maintenance costs
Increased efficiency in manufacturing processes
Enabling sustainable energy and facilitating remote location of installations
Fluoropolymers and the future of the industry
This is a dynamic area in a constant innovation mode with fluoropolymers a key enabler.
- high voltage batteries
- flexible PV front sheet and high durability fuel cells.
The unique properties of fluoropolymers and particularly their excellent chemical, corrosion and abrasion resistance and resistance to extreme temperature plays a big role in increasing the lifetime of components.
- Front sheets: protected by fluoropolymers, provide weather resistance, ultraviolet blocking, optical transparency, fire resistance
- Back sheets: improve electrical insulation, protection from weathering and chemicals
- Vents: fluoropolymers are used e.g. in junction boxes
- Control centers for offshore windparks
- Paints and coatings: long term protection against weathering to increase product life, extend maintenance cycles
- Release film: support production of composite turbine blades esp. for offshore
Fuel Cells and flow batteries:
- Ionomer exchange membranes offer an environmentally safe way to generate large amounts of hydrogen, without emitting CO₂.
- Energy storage: used as a component e.g. binders which provide chemical, heat and oxidation resistance, and long-term storage of renewable energies and stationary energy storage