Siemens to pursue wind power tech for growth

The move marks its entry into China’s wind power market. The plant will first produce blades for wind turbines with capacities of 2.3 megawatts and 3.6 megawatts. The plant is expected to begin operations in the second half of next year.

"China has rich wind energy resources, and Siemens is now taking an active role in the country’s wind power sector," said Hausmann, who is also CEO of Siemens Northeast Asia. With the plant, Siemens has gained a foothold in China’s booming wind energy market, Hausmann said.

Besides providing equipment to domestic customers, Siemens can also supply a full range of services in the wind power area, he added. Although wind power still accounts for a small part of Siemens’ portfolio in China wind power, Hausmann said he is confident about the future.

"Wind energy will continue to see rapid growth in China in the future, as the government is encouraging the use of more clean energy in total energy consumption," Hausmann said. "As a market leader, we will bring our most advanced products and solutions to the Chinese market," he said.

Siemens began wind turbine production through its acquisition of the Danish wind power developer Bonus Energy in 2004. The company has since developed into the leading company in the offshore wind power arena, Hausmann said. "We are now also talking with some Chinese companies on some offshore wind power projects," he said.

Based on more than 25 years of continuous presence in the wind energy industry, Siemens offer the best-skilled management and engineering staff and the designs of any new product combine the accumulated experience of all the previous turbines with the latest advances in the fields of aerodynamics, structural dynamics, noise reduction and grid performance. The result is a reputation for high quality, logical and solid design and creative details that was founded with the first 22-kW turbines of 1980 and has continuously been increased since then.

Invented by Siemens Wind Power, the IntegralBlade® technology manufactures wind turbine blades in one piece using a closed process. The glass fiber reinforcement is laid out to dry using a special molding arrangement with a closed outer mold and an expanding inner mold. After completion of the lamination of the glass fiber, the epoxy resin is injected under a vacuum. Following this injection, the blade is hardened at a high temperature while still enclosed in the mold. Once the blade is hardened, it is removed from the outer mold, and the inner mold is collapsed with a vacuum and pulled from the blade. The result is a complete, seamless blade finished in one process. A truly integrated success.

Compared with the traditional processes used by other blade manufacturers, the IntegralBlade® process has several advantages. The process is efficient in manpower and space, requiring only one mold set for the manufacturing cycle. Additionally, there are no issues relating to tolerances between shells and spars. The resulting blade is an integrated structure with no glued joints that act as weak points potentially exposing the structure to cracking, water ingress and lightning.

Since the IntegralBlade® manufacturing process is closed-in, the blade factory offers a clean and attractive work environment. The resins applied to the blade do not release VOCs and the risk of exposure to allergenic compounds is minimal.

Siemens is the market leader on the offshore wind energy market with a track record of notable projects including Nysted Havmøllepark, Burbo Offshore Wind Farm and the world’s largest offshore wind farm under construction, Greater Gabbard. Siemens Wind Power pioneered the offshore installation of wind turbines with the world’s first offshore wind farm at Vindeby, Denmark, installed in 1991.

All Siemens offshore turbines share the following features:

Corrosion protection: All external turbine components are painted with offshore-grade painting systems that effectively minimize any corrosion caused by salty air and water. The nacelle and tower are fully enclosed, and climate control including dehumidifiers constantly maintain the internal humidity below the 60 percent corrosion threshold.

Cooling systems: Cooling is carried out with air-to-air heat exchangers. Ambient air is not circulated through the nacelle or tower but is limited to flow through the external part of the heat exchangers, and as a consequence, the internal climate can remain controlled.

Safety: The lightning protection system minimizes the risk of damage from lightning strikes that occur frequently in some locations offshore. The turbines are normally fitted with navigational lights and aerial warning lights meeting the relevant safety standards. Rescue equipment is provided at foundation level.

In addition to wind power, Siemens is also looking closely at investment opportunities in solar energy in China. The company’s recent acquisition of an Israeli solar power company can further facilitate its entry into the domestic market, Hausmann said. The company agreed to buy the solar thermal power company Solel Solar Systems Ltd (Solel) for about $418 million earlier this month.

Solel, based in Beit Shemesh, Israel, develops and builds solar thermal power plants and makes solar receivers. The receivers are main components for the facilities that collect sunlight with mirrors to generate steam to power turbines.

"With the deal, we have strengthened our portfolio in solar energy. We are also very interested in the sector in the Chinese market," Hausmann said.

To develop more renewable energy business is in line with Siemens’ strategy to place more focus on energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, Hausmann said.

"The percentage of our company’s revenue generated by our green portfolio will increase significantly," he told reporters at a recent press conference.

"China’s demand for environmentally friendly technologies will remain robust. This will continue to be a strong growth area for Siemens in China," he said.

The company earlier announced it expected to receive orders totaling 20 billion yuan from China’s economic stimulus package in the next three years.

Of those expected orders, half would go to energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, the company said.

As Europe’s largest engineering company, Siemens has reorganized its portfolio into three business groups: industry, energy and healthcare. In addition to energy, the company’s industry divisions also have accelerated their pace in doing green business in China.

For instance, Siemens’ home appliances division launched its 3D air-drying washer-dryer in the Chinese market last month.

Compared with traditional washer-dryers, the new product can save 30 liters to 90 liters of water during the drying processes.

"Water conservation has become an important issue for China. With this product, we will help our customers better conserve the natural resource," said Roland Gerke, president and CEO of BSH Home Appliances (China) Co Ltd, a 50-50 venture between Siemens and Bosch.

BSH since 1990 has succeeded in cutting the average energy consumption of its products by more than 40 percent, Gerke said.

Gerke said the company is also developing a refrigerator that uses solar power. The product, a hybrid, can use solar power and also electricity when there is no sun.

BSH began research and development work for the product last year. It will be launched first in China, Gerke said. Siemens’ metals technologies division is also expanding its presence in the Chinese market with green solutions.

It has provided a new technology, called Corex C-3000, to Baosteel, China’s leading steel company. The technology can eliminate the need for coking plants in the production process, significantly reducing raw material costs and environmental emissions.

It has also signed another agreement with Ma’anshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd (Masteel) in Anhui province to build a MEROS (Maximized Emission Reduction Of Sintering) plant to reduce emissions. Sintering is a method for making objects from powder by heating the material until its particles adhere to each other.

Today, energy and raw materials account for 70 percent of the total costs incurred by steel plants. Reducing operating costs and making more efficient use of input materials are attracting an increasing amount of interest, said Richard Pfeiffer, CEO of Siemens VAI metals technologies.

Siemens China CEO Hausmann said more than 50 percent of the future growth of Siemens China would be related to green technology. Siemens’ green portfolio of business in China will generate orders valued at $6 billion for Siemens next year — 40 percent of the company’s total orders in China for 2010, the company said.