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Renewable energies

The term ‘renewable‘ sums up the essence of these energy sources: They exist in nature and regenerate in inexhaustible quantities without human intervention. Additionally, their use is more sustainable and climate-friendly compared to conventional sources, as the level of emissions is drastically reduced.

Renewable energy generation produces electricity and heat from sunlight, rain, wind, tides or geothermal sources. But it also includes the combustion or fermentation of agricultural or animal production waste as a result of human agricultural activities. The energy can be generated electrically, thermally, chemically or mechanically.

Renewable energies

  • Bioenergy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy
  • Hydropower

Solar energy is probably the best known type of green energy. It is captured by photovoltaic systems or solar thermal collectors. Since the installation of the collectors takes up a lot of space, large-scale power generation in populated areas is difficult to implement. Therefore, small-scale systems are often installed for households or offices.

Wind power technology uses air currents to generate kinetic energy, which is then converted into electrical and mechanical energy. Again, there are small turbines for local use through to large wind farms on land or in the coastal foreshore of the oceans. Offshore plants can have rotors up to 100 m in diameter and produce up to 15 MW. The three-phase current generated there is converted into direct current so that it can be transported through long-distance submarine cables to the onshore converter station without major transmission losses. This station converts the direct current back into three-phase current and feeds it into the power grid. 

Geothermal power plants use the earth's heat, which manifests itself in natural phenomena such as hot springs or geysers. The steam extracted from the earth drives a turbine-generator combination to produce electricity. Depending on whether the reservoir is steam- or water-dominated, the power plant uses either dry steam or the more commonly used water-based flash process or binary systems. In flash steam power plants, the temperature of the fluid can be as high as 300°C. Through single or multi-stage pressure reduction, the water is evaporated and used to operate the plant. A resource cycle is created here, as the fluid extracted from underground to drive the power plant's turbines is subsequently returned to its natural reservoir to maintain geological balance. 

Hydroelectric power is electricity generated by the movement of flowing water. In inland areas, this is done by large dams and pumped-storage power plants, where the reservoir lake is located at a level high above the power plant. When the demand for electricity increases, the water is routed downstream and drives turbines to generate electricity. Thanks to this technology, electrical energy can be stored on a large scale in the form of positional energy. 

Power generation from seawater also uses the kinetic energy from waves, tides and ocean currents and converts it into electricity. The difference with inland power plants is that tidal range and ocean currents are continuously available and can be used anytime.

Energy from biomass is produced from agricultural and animal waste, which is broken down in fermenters with the help of microorganisms. The resulting energy is widely used to generate electricity and heat and to produce biofuels and biogas.

Hydrogen – Energy source of the future

Hydrogen is considered a strategically important future technology for reducing CO2 emissions in industry and transport. The colourless gas can be produced easily and in an environmentally friendly manner and, in some cases, stored or transported in existing infrastructures.

The colour adjectives green, blue, grey and turquoise provide information about how the hydrogen was produced. If it is green, it was produced by the electrolysis of water. Grey hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. The CO2 generated during production is released unused into the atmosphere. Blue hydrogen is produced in the same way with the difference that the byproduct CO2 is captured and stored. Turquoise hydrogen is produced by the thermal cracking of methane. Instead of CO2, the byproduct is solid carbon.

Mankenberg valves for a durable infrastructure

The facilities for the generation, storage and use of renewable energies must provide optimal safety and reliability and be customised to the physical and chemical properties of the energy source.

Biogas and hydrogen plants partly run with high pressure technology and in explosive atmospheres. For this purpose, Mankenberg valves are used according to the ATEX directive.

Offshore platforms and tidal power plants, on the other hand, are exposed to the highly corrosive maritime atmosphere.

Consequently, Mankenberg's product range of flexible standard valves or project-specific special valves is correspondingly wide. The preferred materials are deep-drawn stainless steel components, which offer compact and corrosion-resistant surfaces and are easy to clean. In addition, there is the matching elastomer from a wide range of possible materials.

The optimal solution for every single case is carefully worked out in close consultation with the experts at Mankenberg.

In this way, the valve is in long-term use without requiring major maintenance or spare parts and ensures economical operation in the plant of the energy producer.

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