There exists a pressing need to find an alternative source of energy considering the ever increasing demand for energy and depletion of natural resources such as fossil fuels, natural gas, coal, and wood. The need for energy can be met through a sustainable and renewable source of energy. Wind energy can be classified as a form of solar energy. It can be described as the process by which wind is used to generate electricity or mechanical power. Wind turbine, similar to propeller blades of aircraft, rotate with the help of the moving air, and converts the kinetic energy into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for various purposes. For instance, it can be used for household electricity requirements or to power an electric generator.
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Wind turbine is a proven technology that generates power. It is acknowledged as a clean and environmental friendly technology; it does not emits carbon dioxide. Demand for components and parts associated with wind turbine has been rising considering the increase in the number of wind installations across the globe.
Bearing is one such important component of wind turbine. Wind turbine bearings are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, load fluctuations, maintenance access and lubricant optimization. Bearing are designed taking into account their reliability, operating efficiency, and application suitability. For instance, the fiberglass used in turbine blades is particularly heavy and entails complex manufacturing processes.
The wind turbine bearing market is driven by factors such as large number of wind installation projects, developments and innovation in the field of wind power generation, and increase in demand for efficient wind turbine components and parts. Rise in demand for power generation in emerging economies, especially China and India, are the key factors driving the wind turbine bearing market. The cost of wind power generation has decreased significantly over the years; however, the technology associated with it mandates high initial investment.
Additionally, intricate and complex manufacturing methods, environmental concerns such as noise produced by the rotor blades, and threat to wildlife habitat such as birds and bats due to the rotation of blades are some of the factors likely to hamper the wind turbine bearing market in the near future.
Based on application, the wind turbine bearing market can be segmented into gearbox (spherical roller bearings, cylindrical roller bearing, metric tapers, radial bearings, and angular contact bearings), main shaft (spherical, cylindrical, and tapered), electric generator (hybrid and electrically insulated radial ball bearings), rotor bearing (cylindrical/spherical thrust roller), and rotor pitch (slew rings). In terms of end-user, the wind turbine bearing market can be classified into residential, commercial, and industrial. The industrial segment can be further divided into agriculture, power generation, industrial automation, and telecommunication. Industrial is the major end-user of wind turbine bearings; it accounts for key share of the wind turbine bearing market.
In terms of region, North America is the major market for wind turbine bearings, led by the shift toward the usage of wind and solar energy in order to comply with carbon emission standards and lower dependence on fossil fuels. The wind turbine bearing market in Europe and Asia Pacific is expected to expand significantly during the forecast period, driven by the federal wind energy policies and increase in government initiatives that support wind turbine installation.
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The global wind turbine bearing market is well diversified and highly competitive, with the presence of established international and regional vendors. Complexity of the manufacturing process, offshore and onshore application of bearings, and the capability of manufacturers to provide the same distinguishes them from competitors. Key players operating in the wind turbine bearing market are: ZWZ, Dalian Metallurgical Bearing Group, SKF, Timken, TMB, LYC Bearing, Xibei Bearing, Rothe Erde, Schaeffler Group, Kaydon, and Rollix.