Our latest blog looks at renewable energy and how hydraulic power packs are used to power a range of applications in this field. These applications include wind turbines, commercial biomass boiler systems, solar panels and many more. Below we go into detail about the most commonly used applications and how hydraulic power systems are implemented to power them: Wind Turbines Frequently described as the power of the future, wind power harnesses the forces of nature to create a renewable source of energy and wind turbines have been appearing more often around the countryside in recent years. Powering large areas of population, it is essential that turbines have a reliable power source. The hydraulic power pack is situated high in the turbine body behind the rotors and its main functions are to control the braking system, the pitch adjustment of the rotors and the rotor locking mechanism. Wind turbines also have to put up with a range of adverse environmental conditions due to their size and placement with elements such as seawater salt affecting offshore systems and high winds and storms potentially affecting the majority of turbines. Industry standards suggest that turbines should have a successful operating life of approximately 25 years, so quality and reliability are paramount to a long operational life. Solar Panels Solar power is one of the most popular types of renewable energy as is it a cost effecting method that can yield substantial savings in the long term. It is also a simple process, as it harnesses the suns energy to generate heat and electricity and many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and implementing solar power to make savings on annual running costs. So, where do hydraulic power packs fit into the equation? As solar panels need to be able to track the suns position for optimal efficiency, hydraulic power packs are required to power the panel’s movements and provide a precise and reliable power source for this function. The power packs are typically situated in an enclosed control system which helps prevent damage from the elements including flooding and storm damage. The units are commonly designed to customer bespoke specification and are tailored for easy maintenance and accessibility. Hydroelectric Applications Hydropower is another essential and widely used form of renewable energy which is used widely across the globe. Hydraulics play a big role in the running of these applications and help control vital control systems including gate operations, brake systems and shut off controls. They are used in both hydroelectric plants and in flood defence barriers where they power hydraulically actuated penstocks, which ensure correct water levels are maintained at all times. The power pack in penstock applications is situated above ground along with any electrical systems, as to avoid possible flooding and to ensure telemetry is constantly communicated without the risk of malfunctions due to water ingress and other environmental factors. Biomass Boiler Systems Widely used in both commercial and industrial applications including homes, schools and industry, biomass boilers are an extremely popular renewable energy source which comes in various sizes and specifications. The boiler itself contains a ‘Walking floor’ which is basically two metal plates which move forwards and backwards to gradually push waste material into the boiler. Wood chippings and pellets are the common type of products that you see fed through this system. The hydraulic power pack is responsible for powering the Walking Floor and ensuring it operates reliably and effectively.