High-performance coating for solar mirrors.
Bayer MaterialScience AG, ALANOD Aluminium-Veredlung GmbH & Co. KG, its subsidiary Alanod-Solar and the DTNW (North-West German Textile Research Center) worked together in a consortium for several years to develop a special protective coating for aluminum mirrors used in solar thermal applications. Bayer MaterialScience has now sold its relevant patents and know-how to ALANOD, because this special technology and the associated raw material developments no longer form part of its core business. Despite this, Bayer MaterialScience is still fully committed to innovative developments and new material concepts in the field of solar technology.
The sale gives ALANOD exclusive use of the technology for this highly promising area of application. The parties agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.
A number of technical demands need to be met before solar mirrors based on highly reflective aluminum substrates can be used for power plants. One particularly important requirement is a full-area, highly transparent protective layer that gives the solar mirrors long-term resistance to corrosion and abrasion without impairing the relevant optical properties.
ALANOD has used Bayer MaterialScience’s raw material developments and the DTNW’s formulations to develop a ceramic coating system based on an inorganic sol-gel. This system meets all the requirements referred to above and also demonstrates excellent resistance to weathering, solvents and acids. Tests showed that the coating’s corrosion protection is not impaired even by long-term exposure. What’s more, the system boasts excellent hydrophobic properties and a good self-cleaning capacity.
To cover the growing demand for solar power plant components that open the way for sustainable energy supplies from renewable resources, ALANOD – the world’s leading supplier of surface-finished aluminum and copper products for solar thermal applications – has built industrial-scale production facilities for treating solar mirrors at its headquarters in Ennepetal (North Rhine-Westphalia). ALANOD’s production equipment also includes a coating plant designed specifically for the ceramic coating system. It was taken into service at the beginning of this year and has an annual coating capacity of several million square meters. Solar mirrors manufactured in Ennepetal have already being successfully tested in a number of solar power plants around the world.
About Bayer MaterialScience:
With 2009 sales of EUR 7.5 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2009, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,300 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.
About ALANOD Aluminium-Veredlung:
ALANOD is the world’s leading supplier of high-quality reflector materials for the lighting industry and, via subsidiary Alanod-Solar, the solar industry. Its selectively absorbent and reflective products for solar thermal applications are used in more than one hundred countries around the world. The company has three sites – in Germany, the U.K. and the United States. Its workforce of around 450 generates annual sales of more than EUR 200 million. ALANOD operates cutting-edge anodizing plants, vacuum coating installations and a recently commissioned coating plant for its innovative products. The company is working hard to expand its global presence with further production facilities, in particular for solar applications, so that it can provide the relevant target markets with an excellent and efficient service.