Materials and Rare Earths
The materials we use
A Vestas V150-4.2 MW turbine is composed of around 91 percent steel, iron and metal materials (e.g. steel, iron, copper, alloys and aluminium), three percent polymers and the remaining a mixture of composite materials, electronics, electrical items, lubricants and fluids.
To find out more about the materials we use in our turbines, please have a look at below brochure.
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- Material use brochure
Rare earth elements
Rare earth elements are naturally-occurring elements that, once mined and processed, can be used in a variety of industrial applications. These include permanent magnets in hybrid car motors and other high-tech applications.
At Vestas, we use rare earth elements in the magnets found in the towers of all new turbine models and in permanent-magnet generators in the older GridStreamer™ turbine models (i.e. the V112-3.0 MW and the 2.0 MW GridStreamer™ platform) and the EnVentus platform.
For permanent magnets used in generators, there are two types of turbine drivetrain concepts: conventional geared drivetrains, and gearless direct-drives. The amount of rare earth elements used in direct-drive turbines is up to 10 times higher than the amounts used in conventional drivetrains.
Today, all Vestas turbines are based on proven technology using conventional drivetrains. Rare earth elements are used in our turbines because they improve the performance of the turbines by making the generators more efficient and more grid-compatible.
Also, by using these materials we are able to reduce the overall size of the generator and our powertrains. This helps us to use fewer resources such as steel and structural materials, leading to a positive impact on our carbon footprint.
Furthermore, compared to our previous turbine models, our most recent EnVentus wind turbine uses significantly less light rare-earth materials per MW and in this variant, we have also eliminated the use of heavy rare earth materials altogether.