Winds of change

Humanity has been harnessing the power of the wind for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians built sailing ships and the Persians probably constructed the first simple windmills by 1750 BCE. Historical records tell us of the most diverse further developments in all parts of the world, which nevertheless all had one thing in common – using the power of the wind for the benefit of humankind.

Today, these developments can be found in ultra-modern wind turbines for energy generation. While the global energy density generated by wind power was 24 GW in 2001, it had reached 743 GW by 2020. A new environmental awareness, the effects of climate change and the finite nature of fossil fuels are driving the expansion of renewable energies. Steadily growing figures document the leap in the number of wind power plants worldwide.

In 2020 alone, there was a global increase of 53% and the trend towards generating energy from wind turbines continues unabated.


More and more wind turbines are being installed in the sea. In the North Sea, the littoral states of Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are jointly planning to increase existing offshore capacity tenfold to 150 GW by 2050. Due to the higher and more continuous wind speeds over the ocean, offshore wind farms produce twice as much electricity as comparable plants on land. The extreme forces caused by wind, weather and tides require special technical solutions with regard to stability and production safety.

In the production of wind turbines, the use of glass-fibre reinforced composites has proven itself many times over. Glass filament yarns are an important component of these composite materials. Their special properties allow a high degree of flexibility in the rotor blades and compensate very well for the stresses caused by wind shear under changing wind loads. This is particularly important for rotor diameters of up to 125 metres. The use of glass filament yarns significantly reduces the weight of the wind turbine, which makes transport and assembly extremely easy. Without these state-of-the-art materials, it would not be possible to install these turbines effectively and make use of wind energy on the ocean.

With their high quality, the glass filament yarns produced on the Saurer CakeFormingWinder and Saurer GlassTwister provide the optimum basis for meeting the high demands of offshore operation. Saurer offers an attractive service portfolio for all aspects of glass fibre production, geared to customer needs. From project planning to service guarantee and reliable supply of original parts, a wide range of custom packages is available for worry-free and profitable operation.

The use of wind power for energy generation combines the age-old concept of windmills with cutting-edge technology. Wind turbines are an important key to the successful energy turnaround and make a valuable contribution to the protection of our environment.

Glass fibres – twisted on the Saurer CakeFormingWinder and Saurer GlassTwister